Living in a world that is largely populated by and geared towards neurotypical people it’s very easy to get lost. Often NTs will not understand us and feel threatened by us being different. We do not mean to threaten anyone but much like an albino can not change it’s skin colour we can not change our neurology. Nor should we.
Many autistic people are very caught up in a rather destructive view of autism. Organisations like autism speaks, a significant number of mental health professionals, some snake oil advocates taking advantage of worried parents and the official diagnostic criteria often focus on how autism is not normal in a bad way, how it’s broken, defective, in need of being fixed and made normal. It’s a rather violent rhethoric when one sees the worst parts of it. Autism may then be treated like a big bad boogey monster having taken a person hostage and now they suffer from the monsters influence and need to be freed.
Rubbish! Autism is an integral part of our personality, it is neither separable from us nor can it be cured. Tony Attwood and Carol Grey have done the autistic community a great service by posting a little essay called The Discovery of “Aspie” Criteria.
I will copy the essay the original of which seems to have been lost in the ether. It is however still online :
Qualitative advantage in social interaction, as manifested by a majority of the following:
– peer relationships characterized by absolute loyalty and impeccable dependability
– free of sexist, “age-ist”, or culturalist biases; ability to regard others at “face value”
– speaking one’s mind irrespective of social context or adherence to personal beliefs
– ability to pursue personal theory or perspective despite conflicting evidence
– seeking an audience or friends capable of: enthusiasm for unique interests and topics;
consideration of details; spending time discussing a topic that may not be of primary interest
– listening without continual judgement or assumption
– interested primarily in significant contributions to conversation; preferring to avoid
“ritualistic small talk” or socially trivial statements and superficial conversation
– seeking sincere, positive, genuine friends with an unassuming sense of humor
Fluent in “Aspergerese”, a social language characterized by at least three of the following:
– a determination to seek the truth
– conversation free of hidden meaning or agenda
– advanced vocabulary and interest in words
– fascination with word-based humor, such as puns
– advanced use of pictorial metaphor
Cognitive skills characterized by at least four of the following:
– strong preference for detail over gestalt
– original, often unique perspective in problem solving
– exceptional memory and/or recall of details often forgotten or disregarded by others, for
example: names, dates, schedules, routines
– avid perseverance in gathering and cataloging information on a topic of interest
– persistence of thought
– encyclopedic or “CD ROM” knowledge of one or more topics
– knowledge of routines and a focused desire to maintain order and accuracy
– clarity of values/decision making unaltered by political or financial factors
Additional possible features:
– acute sensitivity to specific sensory experiences and stimuli, for example: hearing, touch,
vision, and/or smell
– strength in individual sports and games, particularly those involving endurance or visual
accuracy, including rowing, swimming, bowling, chess
– “social unsung hero” with trusting optimism: frequent victim of social weaknesses of others,
while steadfast in the belief of the possibility of genuine friendship
– increased probability over general population of attending university after high school
– often take care of others outside the range of typical development
That’s a neat list, right? Wait there is more! Brainstorming in a support group for people on the autistic spectrum lead to many people chiming in. I am going to copy what they said in an anonymised way, because I feel it is important to get a sense of what traits are named very often, so here we go:
because we focus on the finer details we make great employees as we give great attention to detail. We are obsessive about things so put our all into our jobs if they interest us. We do not like lying, so we are generally very honest people. Lots of us are quite intelligent which is a plus.
Willingness to learn and grow.
Very Good with details?
Tendency to be art orientated.
The up side to sensory issues: I can hear things that others can’t. I’ve actually found a dying computer fan at work, twice. The first time I had to argue with the engineer because he couldn’t hear it. The second time, he just asked where I heard it.
I don’t have aspergers but my little sis does and has the kindest most caring heart a rarity and puts others first
What you see is what you get: no hidden agendas, stupid mind games, or paying meaningless lip service
It’s basically a superpower… Each diagnosis should come with a cape.
creativity, honesty, strong focus, loyality, open mindedness, in touch with inner child, independance from group thinking. good observer, high empathy, those apply to me and i link them to being on the spectrum, not all may apply to you ofc
Good points of autism are:-
– autistic people are usually really honest and rarely lie
– those who are autistic usually take notice of what’s happening in front of their eyes, rather than what’s going on around them. While this can mean getting their attention can be harder, it means the individual is living in the moment.
– autistics rarely judge others. No matter how others differ, it doesn’t matter to an autistic person. They feel like a person’s outward appearance doesn’t make a difference (which ideally should be the case in life anyway), so look to find the real person underneath.
– passion is common in those with autism. Obviously, no two autistic people are the same, but autistics are often passionate about things in their life that they’re interested in. Not many non- autistic people can say that!
– autistics often don’t tie down to social situations or go along with peer pressure. For those who aren’t autistic, it can be harder to be themselves when joining in with some social interactions like playing in a sports team for instance.
– autistics often have good memories and greater attention to details like numbers or colors which sometimes can be necessary.
– there’s not as much in the way of materialism linked to autism either. Since a lot of autistic people don’t car about outward appearances, they often simultaneously don’t care about expensive but unimportant externals like brand labels than others.
– less head games are played
– fewer hidden agendas are present
– new doors are opened for non-autistics. Non-autistics who have at least 1 autistic person in their life can find the autistic person has a positive impact on their life’s perspectives, beliefs and expectations. People get released from a world of ‘could’ into a world of ‘should’.
– since those with autism have a mind which works differently, they may think of solutions to problems which other people wouldn’t.
“Stand aside citizens, this looks like a job for… (hands balled into powerful fists & placed on hips, feet spread wide in an heroic stance, muscular chest puffed out with pride & noble head held confidently high) …ASPIE MAN!”
most aspies ive met are true savants!
I’m efficient when I’m familiar with my plans.
I’m genuine and sweet.
I love animals, and they love me.
Every dream is intense and complicated.
It is all good we are all unique in our own ways !:)
People like us are smart, and are usually good at telling the truth.
I’ve walked away when people have started on me & sometimes taken a beating, but whenever ANYONE picks on my friends, or anyone, really, I ALWAYS step up & Never back down,
I hate bullies.
Usually very logical and organised.
With aspergers syndrome comes a different way of looking at life. You’re not ordinary.. you’re extraordinary.
Attention to detail. I really wanted a job doing inventory and it was offered to me because of my “attention to detail”, and that I would notice things most people don’t.
Thinking outside the box. Seeing things with a different slant. Imagination. Creativity.
Fast learner, good retention of information, logical and good problem solving, ability to think outside the box, hard working and committed to projects.
i think i’m very forgiving and give people a second chance. I also look for the good in people. I’m very untidy at home but if i go to sort out a area in work i won’t stop until it is done right.
I find i am more sensitive to things not always a good thing but largely it is. Xx
For myself it is interest. The things I like, I KNOW THEM.
Response: Oh i agree! I know everything possible about the tv series ER! Would be useful if i ever went into medicine…..
Extreme intelligence I’m constantly gathering knowledge. My sensory is uncapped so I can hear just about anything and I can see in the dark, with a lot of other perks too (makes for intense sensory overloads though).
it`s different for different people.
Hate and violence blindness
I think it would be honesty?
Not living by socities rules
Attention to detail
NOT being a cookie cutter human. In other words unique.
All of the above, great topic!
Sweet natured and forthright say what they think!
Knowing that you never have to worry about being just like everybody else. A true original. Even if I could make the Asperger’s go away I’d keep it.
Mass creavity and imagination. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it
For me, it is two things. Being sweet natured and being honest!
I am an extremely weird person and I absolutely love it.
Also, being smart, being creative, having kickbooty writing skills, and having a “sixth sense”. What I mean by that is I can walk into a room and can sense whether the area that I am at and/or the person/people I am around have a good vibe, a meh vibe, bad vibe, etc. I can also sense when a certain person is up to no good sometimes. I’m kinda weird like that.
Attention to detail
There really are a lot of positive things that come with Aspergers… being immune to placebo effects, immune to social trickery, straight forward and logical views that see through bullshit, born without an understanding of discriminations… because being on the outside looking in, you realize people are just people… I’m naturally a nice and passive person I don’t like to be aggressive or anything like that. Animals have a natural love for me.
Their honesty. My 16 yr old aspie never lies
Focused and passionate
Ability to see truth
I’m able to control honesty at this point, but I will always see truth in some fashion, even if it doesn’t weigh on my soul or dictate the confines of my life.
Extreme amounts of empathy
Special interests. I know so much about so many cultures because I’m obsessed with cultures and customs, differences between them, etc. I love it. That, and empathy.
My hype-focus and ability to see details most people I have known don’t see.
Having a very visually active mind!
Having a still like child like heart and not being afraid to let it out when the time is right
My Autism lets me be fiercely out of the box.
I attack problems like a relentless bulldog.
Being able to focus on something you’re very passionate about.
Honesty, intelligence and logic.
My sensory issues also lead me to appreciating nice textures in ways others dont. Few know a love of fake tabletop wood or velvet like I do
I am incredible at what I love. I am thankful for this
Excellent answers so far. I will just echo the extreme creativity one. I am a creative genius and so are my aspie kids. Musicians, writers, artists, actresses.
Being able to say things as they are
4 me, being more uniquer than others and being more betterer people than me was in the past. we hilee excel in surtin things such az myoozic, art, riting, etc. in my kase, as u can c. i am an ecksellent speller and grammarist. (kind of throwing in some humor. but really, being able to master and focus on certain or general subjects)
The fact practically none of us are conformists.
Love for animals.
my empathy and intelligence
Deep eternal love.
Ability to sense energies, vibes and emotions in a very wide and deep range. Plus an added extra of feeling all kinds and genres of music in ways that probably not even the most gifted musicans and composers can
Eye for detail
The ability to make very detailed plans…cover every possible contingency and always have a plan B…can see the little details that so many others fail to see or simply ignore…analyse everything and question everything…everything is built on logic ^^
Being really really good at so many different interesting things. (Just not at being around people)
Creativity and passion for what we love.
My inability to be swayed by the pointless arguments NT’s make about trying ‘fit in’
Attention to detail and sharp memory. I tend to learn quickly and for the most part, retain it. I also look at things objectively and logically and am a very straightforward communicator, like many Aspies.
Difference. It’s utterly necessary to humankind’s survival and progress. When you see it, say “yesssssssssssssssss!”
My child-like awe for learning something new…..my problem solving skills……my immense creativity, just to name a few!
i taught my ability to forgive and give someone a second chance. My councilor said this is me not protecting myself because if someone finally showing their true colours as been mean i will continue to let them hurt me while i wait for the fake nice side to come back. I still think it is a positive.
My son is an aspie and I joined this group to get a better understanding and learn more about it. I love everything about my son but what amazes me the most and blows me away at times is his brain power. He’s so smart and he’s so unique and he loves to share what he knows or has learned. Its truly amazing how an aspies mind works.
My fiancee’s level of affection. I never have to worry about that stereotypical guy thing of not wanting cuddles. His knowledge of electronics and his child-like excitement over his favourite things
the super powers
being able to retain what people call “useless” knowledge..until they need a trivia question answered..lol
our conscience are clean..
Difficult to answer because it depends on the individual’s symptoms doesn’t it? For me I think the best part is that I am am totally non-judgemental, and feel compelled to be obedient, punctual, etc.
if things dont work out for me on this planet i can always go back to where i came from?
LOL..STAR SEEDS and INDIGO CHILDREN are awesome!!
Intense focus and inability to know when someone thinks I’m being impolite. Ignorance is bliss.