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Dec
14

Why I Prefer Online Support Groups to In Person Ones

 By AuSM Member Catherine

I recently joined a great group online for adult women with Aspergers (or High Functioning Autism). It is rather like a school on ASD, a place to learn from woman of all ages and from all over the world - and to feel safe to post thoughts, experiences, and questions. This is particularly helpful to me right now as I was just diagnosed within the past year and this is a new world.

By AuSM Member Catherine

I recently joined a great group online for adult women with Aspergers (or High Functioning Autism). It is rather like a school on ASD, a place to learn from woman of all ages and from all over the world - and to feel safe to post thoughts, experiences, and questions. This is particularly helpful to me right now as I was just diagnosed within the past year and this is a new world.

There are so many things I like about this group, including:

  • The members are kind and accepting of different opinions and experiences
  • It has been a safe place to interact with others from the privacy of home
  • It can be very personal and fun too
  • I feel no need or pressure to have to remember individual names or keep track of details about each person - I simply take it one post at a time and one individual comment at a time
  • There have been some wonderful discussions - you can quickly get many perspectives on a topic

In addition to all of these there is another benefit that might seem obvious in the ASD world but that has just occurred to me: the pace and timing of communication in this online group is perfect. We can go online anytime of the day or night to read and comment. We can turn the computer off or take breaks whenever we need to. We can take as long as we want to respond and can choose which posts to respond to. No one is in front of us waiting for a reply. Nonverbals - such as facial expressions - and other distractions are not seen so we do not have that confusion to deal with.

Sometimes, I write posts and comments in the group with ease. Often though, it takes a while to write them, thinking carefully about the wording. Other times, a comment or response comes to my head and I may start to type it - but stop and reconsider - then either change the comment or not post at all. I have also gone back and edited things I have already posted - and have even deleted them. Writing in the group is a good way to get feedback on whether or not what I wrote is clear and comes across the way I intended.

Writing is like that - it gives us more time to shift and consider. I communicate best through writing, especially when I want to express myself to others and work out my thoughts. This makes communicating in emails, in my journal, and in online groups much more comfortable. I wish we could push pause, backspace, delete and edit during in-person communication too. Wouldn't that be great?