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Appears in:
Pages: 2873-2879
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain

THE ROLE OF PHOTOS IN SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS OF ADULT ARABS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

A. Mashat, M. Wald, S. Parsons

University of Southampton (UNITED KINGDOM)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability. People with ASD face potential difficulties with social communication and interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities. A high number of adults with ASD face problems in face-to-face communications and may try to avoid social interaction and group activities (Bishop, 2003; Burke et al., 2010). In the past few years, technology has been developed and research has been undertaken focusing on managing social skills difficulties and improving the lives of people with ASD (Bolte, et al., 2010). Social media networks such as Facebook have also been used for improving social and communication skills of people with ASD (Graham, 2012).

Most autism intervention research has involved young children in Western cultures (Edwards et al., 2012; Parsons et al., 2009). Additionally, support services may be difficult to obtain for adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome (Attwood, 2003; Brugha et al., 2011; Burke et al., 2010) who, may, nevertheless, still require support (Burke et al., 2010). It has also been claimed that families across the Middle East are ashamed of the disability and try to hide their children from the community (Nasr, 2008). These problems demonstrate the importance of implementing a study considering adult Arabs with ASD to help them overcome some of their difficulties and to provide them with a better quality of life.

The focus of this research is to study the influence of photos shared with family and friends on social media networks on the communication and interaction skills of adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome from Arab countries. Facebook has been chosen for its popularity and useful features. For example, photos represent about 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook (Cooper, 2013). Additionally, it has been reported that people with ASD are interested in images more than text (Habash, 2005; Kana et al., 2006). However, people with ASD may be vulnerable to bullying and abuse when using technology (Benford, 2008). Benford (2008) focused on technologies used by people with ASD and how integrating family support can reduce these vulnerabilities.

Conversations, activities and the engagement of Adult Arabs with ASD using photos on Facebook will be studied. Arabs’ use of social media could be limited by cultural restrictions, which they also face in the real world. So in order to help Arabs with ASD to benefit from using social networks, a number of cultural factors from the literature and from background information that could influence their usability and sociability have been identified. A Framework for Autistic Arabs’ Social Communication and Interaction Technology (FAASCIT) has been established presenting the identified factors based on consultation with autism professionals and individuals in Saudi Arabia. The current stage of the study will explore some of the factors further through observing the use of Facebook by adults Arabs with ASD, and how photo sharing might make the use of social media more suitable and beneficial for this group of users. The study aims to include ten autistic adults and their families who will be observed in a series of sessions. This paper will present FAASCIT as well as the design of the observational study.
@InProceedings{MASHAT2015ROL,
author = {Mashat, A. and Wald, M. and Parsons, S.},
title = {THE ROLE OF PHOTOS IN SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS OF ADULT ARABS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER},
series = {9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-5763-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {2873-2879}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Mashat AU - M. Wald AU - S. Parsons
TI - THE ROLE OF PHOTOS IN SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS OF ADULT ARABS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
SN - 978-84-606-5763-7/2340-1079
PY - 2015
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2015
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2015 Proceedings
SP - 2873
EP - 2879
ER -
A. Mashat, M. Wald, S. Parsons (2015) THE ROLE OF PHOTOS IN SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS OF ADULT ARABS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER, INTED2015 Proceedings, pp. 2873-2879.
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