"I want it the way I need it": Modality, readability, and format control for autistic information seekers online
Forthcoming Article
Authors: Amelia Gibson, Dana Hanson-Baldauf
DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2019029842

This qualitative analysis of sixteen in-depth interviews with autistic individuals and parents explores themes related to information poverty and the influence of control and power in online environments toward knowledge growth, self-determination, and personal agency. The authors discuss the perspectives of participants on information seeking, including initiatives to access information through preferred platforms and the influence of control (or lack of control) in terms of the modality, format, and readability of information. Findings reveal highly motivated, self-directed, and critical information seekers in support of academic endeavors, skill development, personal interests, curiosities, entertainment, social connectedness, community access, and independent living. Participants indicated preferences toward video streaming and similar multimedia content to address information needs. For many, social media functioned as personal infrastructure for supportive place-based communities. The article concludes by posing critical questions and considerations for researchers, creators of online learning sites, and instructors who teach in these environments in support of neurodivergent learners.

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