Challenges for young people with special educational needs

The internet can be a great platform for young people who have special educational needs to communicate with other likeminded people without the added challenge of face to face contact. However, it can be challenging for them to differentiate between what information is OK to share with others online, and what information is not OK to share, and who we should share this information with.

Autistic young people in particular tend to be very trusting and honest which could lead them to sharing information with strangers online. Typically, the advice is that if you wouldn’t share certain information with a stranger on the street, then you should not be sharing this piece of information with someone you only know online either. However, this transferring of message and advice can be tricky for young people who have special educational needs to understand and needs strengthening and reinforcing to suit their individual need and level of understanding.

The internet does come with an added ambiguity in that there is no hard and fast rule that will work for every situation. Often, we have to assess the situation for ourselves and carefully consider the level of risk. Young people who have special educational needs will need to be supported in differentiating not only what a stranger is online, but also what you should and shouldn’t share with them.