Autism, Neurodiversity, and Identity Formation through the Internet

Proposal Title: 
Autism, Neurodiversity, and Identity Formation through the Internet
Presenter(s): 
Abstract: 

The theory of social construction of reality states that identity is developed through social interactions with others.  People with autism struggle with face-to-face interactions which raises the question: how is their identity formed?  The internet helps bypass this face-to-face component of socialization and invites people with autism to begin the process of forming their identities.

Proposal: 

Many people view autism as a disability.  However, there is a growing movement of advocates calling for neurodiversity, the belief that autism is a difference, not a disability.  With this in mind, many individuals with autism (neurodiverse) embrace their “disability” as part of their identity.  With the internet becoming an increasingly imperative part of our culture, identities are formed around the internet.  Therefore, how do neurodiverse individuals craft their identities around their neurodiversity and what role does the internet play in it?  The theory of social construction of reality says that identity is developed through social interactions with others.  If this is true, then how does the neurodiverse individual form their identity since many neurodiverse individuals struggle with face-to-face socialization?  However, the internet helps bypass the face-to-face component of socialization and subsequently sends an invitation to neurodiverse individuals to begin crafting their identities.

Context: 
People with autism struggle with the face-to-face component of socialization and the internet helps to bypass and intervene in the area of socialization to help them form their identity.
Proposal Type: 
individual