From BESE: While several recent articles and blogs have argued that social media can have a negative impact on our mental health, many members of the autistic community have utilized social media as a tool to form meaningful friendships, provide peer support, and engage in activism.
“On Twitter, in particular, autistic people from all over the world, of all different needs levels and identities, are able to connect with each other through the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag and make a space for ourselves to be able to talk about our own lives and experiences when so much of the conversation around autism is still dominated by non-autistic experts and parents. We can also reach out to each other—and to non-autistic people looking to better understand and support their autistic loved ones—with any questions we might have via the #AskingAutistics created by autistic advocate and writer Neurodivergent Rebel.
At a time when both understanding and resources for autistic people are scarce, this loose-knit online network has stepped up to fill the gaps in mainstream autism initiatives. When a large portion of research on autism still focuses on searching for its causes, we work together to try to figure out parts of our lives that few have ever even thought to study yet, from how to navigate certain social situations to whether or not we might react differently to hormonal birth control than non-autistic people. While we watch major charities fund the search for a cure over programs that might improve the lives of autistic children and adults right now, we provide makeshift therapy services to each other and piece together what limited funds many of us have to make the day to day lives of our fellow autistics at least a little easier to manage.”