Autism, Solitude, & Blogging

About a year ago, I wrote this about autism and loneliness:

No matter how many people I am around, I am still very much alone.

Autism and Asperger Syndrome can be very lonely conditions. There are few points when an individual dealing with these labels will feel truly comfortable interacting with peers and acquaintances. Even when social interaction occurs, a level of detachment exists that impedes the communication between the autistic individual and the neurotypical individual. Parents and teachers are constantly looking for ways to help their autistic child branch out better and feel more comfortable in social situations – from peer buddies, to journals, to visual cues, and many other strategies.

One strategy that has made a huge impact with me is blogging. What you are reading right now is the single most comfortable form of social interaction I could possible have with you. I express and communicate things through my blog I might have difficulty with face-to-face (or face-to-shoes as the case may be). Blogging has helped my social development, plain and simple, and this improvement has been slowly filtering into other social situations.

Before you dismiss this intervention, consider this. If you have an aspie or a high-functioning autistic individual in your life, how much does he like to write? Chances are, the answer is, “a lot.” Blogging is a great outlet for writing. Whether it’s poems, short stories, nonfiction, daily journals, or something else entirely, you can put it on a blog. Suddenly, the writing is no longer in a private notebook. It’s on the web for anyone to see!

Privacy can be a concern here. MySpace has especially received its share of bad press when it comes to individuals stalking our children. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be MySpace. Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, and LiveJournal are all examples of MySpace alternatives. Also, as the adult, you should set up the account under a username that tells nothing of the child’s identity. You can control what information is included in the “About Me” section, and you can decide whether or not other people can make comments on the site. Blogging can be a very safe way of communicating with the world. Much of the stigma comes from the many people who use blogging irresponsibly.

During the life of this blog, I have posted numerous entries on presenting. I’ve reviewed an office suite and an operating system. I’ve discussed internet ethics, game ratings, the recording industry, and, of course, my experiences with Asperger Syndrome. What might your child accomplish? What voice might he or she discover that lay repressed in other settings? Give this a try. Set up a safe blog for your child. Give it some time, and see what kind of product is produced. You might even learn some new things about your own child.