For too long, diagnostics for Autism and ASD have focused only on the deficits associated with autism. This creates such a negative picture of such wonderful individuals. And guess what? Just like every other human being on the planet – individuals with ASD have both strengths and weaknesses. So let’s take a minute to point out and appreciate the positive aspects of autism.
1. Has expertise in area(s) of special interest
We have been labeling individual’s special interests as obsessions and putting a negative connotation on them for far too long. Many individuals with autism have an islet of ability, in other words, an 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.
2. Honest, trustworthy, and realistic
“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. They also have difficulty lying so you can trust them to tell you the truth.
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”.
4. Strong Attention to Detail
Often able to notice small details others miss. An individual may be 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.
5. Kinesthetic Learners
Uses all 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 less or more 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.
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 sometimes 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. The positive aspects of autism go beyond the points on this list. So remember this:
If All You see is:
AUTISM. AUTISM. AUTISM.
You will miss out on:
loving, kind, creative, extraordinary, generous,
honest, sweet, loving, uniquely observant, intelligent,