Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

Debbie Shelden


This was a mixed methods study designed to examine the perceptions of young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) regarding usage of computer-mediated communication (CMC), with a focus on benefits, challenges, and support needs. People with ASD are often prone to social and communication difficulties, making it difficult for them to maintain relationships, find and retain employment, and be active members of their communities. Deficits in these areas are particularly hard for young adults who may no longer have regular routines or opportunities for socializing because they have transitioned out of school-based activities. CMC is a relatively new form of communication, but research suggests its benefits are nearly the same as face-to-face communication for people in the general population. People with ASD generally have difficulties with the nonverbal part of face-to-face communication (i.e. maintaining eye contact, reading body language, interpreting tone of voice), suggesting that they may benefit from utilizing the Internet to communicate with others. Quantitative and qualitative data obtained from the online survey and interviews indicate overall more perceived benefits than challenges, with suggestions for supports.

KEYWORDS: autism, communication, internet


Imported from ProQuest Massier_ilstu_0092E_10929.pdf


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