This article presents preliminary results from ongoing research about autism in Brazilian virtual communities. We investigated public opinion about autism in the virtual communities dedicated to this issue. Public opinion about a medical condition directly influences the sick person's experience and the experiences of her caregivers and family. The results describe the social representations of the users - mainly parents and caregivers of autistic children - about the supposed causes of autism, the forms of treatment, the forms of activism and the rights of autistics and the ambivalent use of medical knowledge, which is frequently endowed with the capacity of disclosing the disease, but which is also resisted in favor of lay knowledge of parents and caregivers based on their daily experience with the autistic people.
Ortega, F., Zorzanelli, R., Meierhoffer, L. K., Rosário, C. A., de Almeida, C. F., de Andrada, B. F. da C. C., … Feldman, C. (2013). A construção do diagnóstico do autismo em uma rede social virtual Brasileira. Interface: Communication, Health, Education, 17(44), 119–132. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1414-32832013000100010