International Conference on Computers for Handicapped Persons

ICCHP 2014: Computers Helping People with Special Needs pp 478-485 | Cite as

Improving Social and Communication Skills of Adult Arabs with ASD through the Use of Social Media Technologies

  • Alaa Mashat
  • Mike Wald
  • Sarah Parsons
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8547)


People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) find it hard to communicate and interact with other people. Although technology has been involved in sup-porting people with ASD in developed countries, research on such technologies has been mainly related to Western culture. Arab adults with ASD require sup-port for improving their social skills. However, cultural differences could limit the usability of existing technologies. The proposed study aims to investigate the use of social networks for supporting Arab adults with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger syndrome in order to improve their abilities in social situations such as family relations and friendships, considering the influence of culture and tradition views on the usability and sociability of social media technologies.


Accessibility Usability Autism Spectrum Disorder Arabs Adults Social Media Technology Social Skills Communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Newschaffer, C.J., Croen, L.A., Daniels, J., Giarelli, E., Grether, J.K., Levy, S.E., Mandell, D., Miller, L., Pinto-Martin, J., Reaven, J., Reynolds, A., Rice, C., Schendel, D., Windham, G.: The epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders*. Annu. Rev. Public Health 28, 235–258 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grandin, T., Attwood, T.: Different...Not Less: Inspiring Stories of Achievement and Successful Employment from Adults With Autism, Asperger’s, and ADHD: Future Horizons Incorporated (2012)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV (1994)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Alsheikh, T., Lindley, S., Rode, J.: Understanding Online Communication through Arab Eyes. In: CHI 2010, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10-15, pp. 1–4 (2010)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Essa, M.M., Guillemin, G.J., Waly, M.I., Al-Sharbati, M.M., Al-Farsi, Y.M., Hakkim, F.L., Ali, A., Al-Shafaee, M.S.: Increased Markers of Oxidative Stress in Autistic Children of the Sultanate of Oman. Biological Trace Element Research 147(1-3) (2012)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bishop, J.: The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19(4), 546–556 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burke, M., Kraut, R., Williams, D.: Social Use of Computer-Mediated Communication by Adults on the Autism Spectrum. In: Proc. of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW 2010), pp. 425–434. ACM, New York (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Seltzer, M.M., Shattuck, P., Abbeduto, L., Greenberg, J.S.: Trajectory of development in adolescents and adults with autism. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 10(4), 234–247 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Al-Farsi, Y.M., Al-Sharbati, M.M., Al-Farsi, O.A., Al-Shafaee, M.S., Brooks, D.R., Waly, M.I.: Brief Report: Prevalence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Sultanate of Oman. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 41(6) (2011), doi:10.1007/s10803-010-1094-8Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Al-Salehi, S.M., Al-Hifthy, E.H., Ghaziuddin, M.: Autism in Saudi Arabia: Presentation, Clinical Correlates and Comorbidity. Transcultural Psychiatry 46(2) (2009), doi:10.1177/1363461509105823Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Samadi, S.A., McConkey, R.: Autism in developing countries: lessons from Iran. Autism Research and Treatment (2011)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eapen, V., Mabrouk, A.A., Zoubeidi, T., Yunis, F.: Prevalence of pervasive developmental disorders in preschool children in the UAE. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics 53(3) (2007), doi:10.1093/tropej/fml091Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yazbak, F.E.: Autism seems to be increasing worldwide, if not in London. British Medical Journal 328(7433), 226–227 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hussein, H., Taha, G.R., Almanasef, A.: Characteristics of autism spectrum disorders in a sample of Egyptian and Saudi patients: transcultural cross sectional study. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 5 (2011), doi:10.1186/1753-2000-5-34Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ashoka Arab World Internet Report: Raising autism awareness in the Arab region (2008),
  16. 16.
    Qabbani, B.: Dubai urged to step up for autism awareness’ The National (2011),
  17. 17.
    Muhammad, F.: Saudi Gazette, Internet Report: Autism turning into regional epi-demic, experts warn (2013),
  18. 18.
    Bolte, S., Golan, O., Goodwin, M.S., Zwaigenbaum, L.: What can innovative technologies do for Autism Spectrum Disorders? Autism 14(3), 155–159 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Moore, M., Calvert, S.: Brief report: Vocabulary acquisition for children with autism: Teacher or computer instruction. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 30(4) (2000), doi:10.1023/a:1005535602064Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Benford, P.: The use of internet-based communication by people with autism. University of Nottingham, Nottingham (2008)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Spolsky, J.: It’s Not Just Usability, Joel on Software (2004),
  22. 22.
    Autism Europe. Improving quality of life for people with autism (2011),
  23. 23.
    Hong, H., Kim, J.G., Abowd, G.D., Arriaga, R.I.: Designing a social network to support the independence of young adults with autism. In: Proceedings of the ACM 2012 (2012)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hong, H., Yarosh, S., Kim, J.G., Abowd, G.D., Arriaga, R.I.: Investigating the use of circles in social networks to support independence of individuals with autism. In: Paper Presented at the Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM (2013)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ghanem, R.: Arabizi is destroying the Arabic language. Arab News (2011),
  26. 26.
    Duggan, M., Smith, A.: Social Media Update 2013. Pew Research Center (2013),
  27. 27.
    Arab Social Media Report: Transforming Education in the Arab World: Breaking Barriers in the Age of Social Learning, 5th edn. Dubai School of Government (2013)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Arab Social Media Report: Social Media in the Arab World: Influencing Societal and Cultural Change? Dubai School of Government 2(1), 29 (2013)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    The Social Clinic. The State of Social Media in Saudi Arabia 2012 (2013),
  30. 30.
    Habash, M.A.: Assistive Technology Utilization for Autism An Outline of Technology Awareness in Special Needs Therapy. Paper presented at the Second International Conference on Innovations in Information Technology (2005)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kana, R.K., Keller, T.A., Cherkassky, V.L., Minshew, N.J., Just, M.A.: Sentence comprehension in autism: thinking in pictures with decreased functional connectivity. Brain 129(2006), 2484–2493 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Putnam, C., Chong, L.: Software and Technologies Designed for People with Autism: What do users want? Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 10th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and accessibility, Canada (2008)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Cooper, B.B.: 7 Powerful Facebook statistics you should know for a more engaging Facebook page. buffer (2013),

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alaa Mashat
    • 1
  • Mike Wald
    • 1
  • Sarah Parsons
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SouthamptonUK

Personalised recommendations