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Abstract

Often, the overall success of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process hinges on the ability of a neutral third party to establish a level playing field supported by a sense of equal bargaining power between disputants. Most forms of ADR, including traditional approaches to mediation and arbitration, are characterized by in-person interactions, where disputants and third parties communicate through a combination of verbal and nonverbal cues. Though many believe that this form of interaction is crucial for effective communication, it may result in significant disadvantages for autistic parties who face difficulties properly discerning the intentions or meaning of these cues.

This work examines the potential benefits of implementing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) tools and platforms in dispute resolution processes involving autistic parties. It explores the inherent disadvantages presented by traditional forms of ADR and proposes an alternative approach geared toward the individual needs of parties and the accommodation of cognitive difference. Given the high potential for eased communication presented by computer and internet technologies for autistic disputants, this work posits that an ideal process would be one that effectively incorporates ODR tools and that provides a structured and stable environment for dispute resolution.