‘I don’t want to be an idiot’: How a child with autism is being forced to use social media to navigate a world of digital divide
I don’t know what to say.
I am, after all, a person with autism.
The first person to tell me this, at an event in a mall in Melbourne, was my mother.
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard about autism, but it was the first I’d been told it was something I couldn’t control.
But it didn’t matter.
My mother had a story.
I would soon discover that the internet was not the only way I’d ever been able to communicate with the world.
She had, for more than a decade, lived in a world where communication between different people was not as easy as it should have been.
I had, like her, a knack for creating the perfect online presence.
The way I used social media and my unique ability to create an avatar for myself was a gift from the internet.
I was an internet celebrity.
Now I am not.
My life was transformed.
In my 20s, I was a successful, successful writer and a model.
Then I became an internet star.
My career took a drastic turn.
In 2014, I quit my job and started my own website, www.naughtythesim.com.
It was an attempt to monetise my story, and the internet would follow.
I became a public figure, one of thousands of people with autism who have had their story told online.
And, like many others, I soon discovered that it was not always a happy place.
The world around me was not what I had hoped for.
It did not feel like a normal place.
In the years that followed, I started to feel lonely and alone.
In the early days, I could communicate with people.
My friends were happy to meet with me.
I used my website to share my experiences and tell people about the struggles of being an autistic person.
But I soon became aware of a dark side to my life.
As I moved from one social network to another, I began to see myself as a product of my environment.
I felt disconnected from people I loved and had built a bond with.
I began becoming angry, and I felt I had to keep people in my life and keep them happy.
The Internet and autism As my life began to diverge, so did my online life.
I stopped making friends, stopped using my website and stopped sharing my experiences.
My sense of community was destroyed.
My blog became my playground, my source of escape, my escape from reality.
I tried to find a way to share with my friends and family.
I sought therapy.
I started attending conferences.
But the internet, like any form of communication, was only ever a temporary solution to a long-term problem.
The internet is designed to allow us to communicate through an avatar.
My avatar was my digital persona.
As the internet grew, I became less and less able to create my own.
Over time, I realised that the only thing that made me a human again was my own digital persona, which was not something I could create with the internet but was a result of the interactions I had with other people.
The problem was that I had created my avatar to represent my inner self, which meant I had no connection to the real world.
And I could not be in touch with my inner world if I could never see the real one.
It became clear that this was the beginning of my descent into isolation.
My life is not perfect.
My social anxiety is still there, and it has not been cured.
I have to work to get my voice heard, and my online persona is a way of being a part of the world, not an escape from it.
The most significant obstacle in my journey has been the inability to be fully myself online.
I cannot talk to people, but I am a presence on Twitter and Facebook.
I can talk to my family, but they are not a part.
I do not have a job and I am still in school.
But this is what I wanted to do.
I wanted my voice to be heard, so I could talk to those around me.
This journey is one that many with autism have been on for years, and for many it has been a journey of isolation.
Many people with Asperger’s have had it as well, and are still on the road to recovery.
And now, as a result, they are being forced by the internet to be people they have never been before.
They are being placed into virtual worlds and their experiences are being manipulated.
But what if there was a better way?
What if the internet could help us, rather than simply create a place to hide, as my mother and I did?
I know I can change things.
I want to change my life, to have a voice and to be respected.
But there is a much bigger road