Bellon-Harn, M.L., Ni, J., & Manchaiah, V.
Autism, 24(7), 1805-1816.
Publication year: 2020

Stakeholders within autism spectrum disorder communities use Twitter for specific purposes. The goal of this study was to characterize patterns and themes of tweet content and sentiment and intercommunications between users sending and retweeting content to their respective user networks. The study used cross-sectional analysis of data generated from Twitter. Twitter content, sentiment, users, and community networks were examined from a sample of tweets with the highest Twitter reach and the lowest Twitter reach. Results indicate that Twitter content from both samples was primarily related to empowerment and support. Differences between the number of tweets originating from an individual in the lowest reach sample (i.e. 41%) as compared to the individuals in the highest reach sample (i.e. 18%) were noted. The number of users belonging to an advocacy subcommunity was substantially larger than a clinical and research subcommunity. Results provide insight into the presuppositions of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, their families and significant others, and other stakeholders.