Neurodiversity and Identity Formation in Virtual Autistic Spaces

Alexandra Saba : Interdisciplinary Studies Field

Mentor: Rakesh Bhandari, Interdisciplinary Studies

The neurodiversity movement has gained much traction with the proliferation of the internet. It is based on the premise that neurological differences such as autism are normal variations of functioning and the human genome. Alexandra Saba will explore the impact of the neurodiversity movement on the formation of identity within autistic individuals through interviews of users of online neurodiversity forums and groups, as well as analysis of current research on neurodiversity. She will consider the following questions: Can autism be seen as a form of identity rather than a disorder? How does the autistic community use the neurodiversity movement as a way to make sense of their own identity? Her thesis will contribute to a better understanding of neurodiversity’s impact on identity formation and sense of self among autistic individuals.