Monday, November 3, 2008

ASAN Online Teen Group

ASAN, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, has begun to sponsor a new
Yahoo group for teens on the autism spectrum. Participants can be self
diagnosed, and they must be at least 13 years of age. This group is
being moderated by ASAN adult members. You can get more information on
this group from the Southwest Ohio chapter of ASAN's blog.
I'm a big fan of this type of group. Many adults
are wary of online interactions, and they think they're inferior to
face to face communication. I don't think that's the case. Online is
different, not necessarily inferior. Face to face friends are not
always possible. Many kids on the autism spectrum are outcasts at
school, maybe the only one with their diagnosis in the entire class or
even grade level. These teens may not fit in with the other
neighborhood kids, or with kids they meet on teams or in groups. Online
communication can allow teens to feel connected to others who they may
have a lot in common with. The online medium allows teens to filter out
some really difficult and distracting social cues and still be a part
of a community. It's tough to feel different, and this group will allow
some teens to take an important social step. I hope parents will consider this group for their teens.