It’s unfortunate, but the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder focus only on the deficits associated with autism. This creates such a negative picture of such wonderful individuals. Truthfully, there are tons of positive “autism traits”.
And guess what? Just like every other human being on the planet – autistic people have both strengths and weaknesses.
Positive Personality Traits of Autism
So let’s take a minute to point out and appreciate the positive personality traits in people with autism.
Positive Autistic Traits
1. Has expertise in area(s) of special interest
We have been labeling peoples special interests as “obsessions” and putting a negative connotation on them for far too long.
Many people with autism have an islet of ability. In other words, outstanding talent in an area of special interest.
While it’s great to encourage learning about different subjects, we should never discourage a person’s special interests. Finding others who share similar interests or admire their level of expertise can help new friendships blossom.
Also, many of these interests are marketable. What I mean by that is that they would be considered a strong asset to the right employer. Your child’s “obsession” with animals could help carve their path to a career as a zoologist, for example.
Recently, an online study found that out of all career fields, people with autistic traits are most likely to become scientists or engineers.
The Cambridge researchers believe that the findings support the idea that autistic traits are linked to a “systems-thinking mind” which is why people in high tech occupations have more autistic personality traits than the general population.
2. Honest, trustworthy, and realistic
On an assessment, you may read something like: “Makes inappropriate observations and has difficulty understanding sarcasm and figures of speech”.
Nevermind that nonsense.
Individuals with autism are honest and trustworthy. If you’re looking for an honest opinion, you’re going to get it.
No, they may not sugarcoat their opinions, or make sarcastic comments. But, they also have difficulty lying so you can trust them to tell you the truth.
Sometimes the truth stings, but honesty is an admirable personality trait to have.
3. Communicates Differently
Children with autism may not always communicate verbally, but they do communicate. Observe and listen and you will find intent in their actions.
Talking isn’t the only way to “speak”.
We often focus on how kids can’t communicate (with language) but many are able to express themselves through art, writing, and using visuals.
4. Strong Attention to Detail
Often able to notice small details others miss.
A lot of autistics are able to focus on the intricate details of something bigger, noticing and correcting errors that would typically be missed.
They may also have the ability to recall small but important details of an event that others didn’t notice.
Although this sometimes makes them appear as perfectionists, this autism trait is a strength in many situations.
5. Kinesthetic Learners
They use all their senses to engage in learning. Best able to learn and retain information when using a hands-on approach, building motor memory from performing a task again and again.
Doing a demonstration of learned skills is much more beneficial than requesting a written report or a graph.
6. Sensory processing differences, not deficits
Just because individual processes sensory input differently than you, perhaps more or less intensely, does not mean it is a deficit. It’s just different, that is all.
A keen sense of smell or a sensitivity to touch doesn’t equate to a disability.
In fact, sensory processing is considered a spectrum and we all have a sensory bias.
7. Doesn’t conform to social norms
Many individuals with autism may appear or be considered “eccentric” but this is a beautiful thing.
Their unique and special personalities shine through.
They don’t need to dress a certain way or act a certain way just because it’s “cool”. They are their true, wonderful selves.
8. They CAN Thrive
Yes, a child with autism may need more support to understand dangerous situations, or to learn certain skills.
But, with love, guidance, and teaching in respectful ways that promote self-advocacy children with autism can and do thrive.
The truth is, there is so much we can learn from children and adults with autism.
Their unique way of viewing the world and their open minds can positively influence the people around them in many ways.