Social Networkers Raise Autism Awareness with Communication Shutdown

In a global effort to raise funds and awareness of autism, thousands of people in 40 countries around the world will switch off their Facebook and Twitter accounts today. The `Communication Shutdown' is receiving support from Buzz Aldrin, model Miranda Kerr and actor Steven Segal.

There is also a $5 charity app that will spread the word of the shutdown through status updates, tweets and profile pictures.

Despite the good intentions behind this campaign, members of the autistic community says that the social networking blackout will do little to increase awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Marianna Harvey of SapientNitro, the marketing agency involved in the campaign, explained the motivation behind it: "If they shut down for one day, they will feel a sense of disconnection and a sense of frustration. By creating a little empathy, we hope to encourage a wider understanding of people with autism."

However, some with ASD feel that this initiative will do little to break the two main ASD stereotypes, the first being of the brilliant autistic savant and the second of the hopelessly disabled, non-verbal child.

Some are shunning this initiative in favor of Autistics Speaking Day, where people with ASD will use the Internet to speak up about their experience of the disorder.