Autism. What image pops into your mind when you hear that word? Autism is in our culture. But, it is in our neighborhoods, churches, our children’s schools, and communities. Stories about autism successes and struggles dot the media each week. Maybe you have noticed a quirky kid at church or listened to your child complain about “that kid” from school. Have you learned anything to conjure up a positive image of autism?
It has taken a long time for me to see anything positive about autism. In the early years, it was a daily struggle. Tears, yelling, meltdowns, stress, and anxiety. We had so many people involved who had a piece to P’s care. We had opinions swirling around so quickly that it was impossible to process it all. The opinions and advice ranged from we need to be more strict, less strict, better diet, eliminate dyes, get involved in school, more therapy to keep P from being a juvenile delinquent. You can see how the swirling opinions could be frustrating and confusing to sort it all out.
At this time, my husband and I knew we had a choice to make–be choosier in who we let in for P’s care and eliminate the ones who weren’t aligned with our point of view. We started asking for recommendations for everything from therapists, teachers, doctors, and counselors. Caregivers who would challenge us to grow and learn and also accept our opinions. Everyone who worked with P came with a recommendation from someone we knew. A core group formed that had the education and knowledge to help us to see the power of positive autism. We learned every experience of autism is unique. No one person with autism will identify with every positive aspect of autism. Everyone has their own individual skills, attributes, and characteristics that are as unique as our own personalities.
Listed below is our list of positive autism characteristics. It has taken a great deal of time, effort, and thought to see the positive upside. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of only concentrating on deficits instead of celebrating the strengths. We know P could be a professional Where’s Waldo finder with his strong visual skills. It definitely comes in handy when we are traveling and need to read a map. When he finds something that he loves, his concentration is laser-focused, and nothing can interrupt him. P is always finding unique, innovative solutions to problems. He has a great view of problem-solving. P likes take the problem turn it upside down by stating what he knows and then formulate a plan from there. P can be very methodical and analytical in his thinking.
Here is our list of positive autism characteristics.
- Visual Skills can be top notch
- Great at visual learning and recall
- Detail focused
- Detail Focus
- Freedom from distraction
- Novel Approaches
- Unique thought processes
- Innovative solutions
- Methodical approaches
- Spotting patterns, repetition
- Other Positive Autism Characteristics
- Observation Skills–great fact finder
- Creative–distinct imagination
- Great recall for facts
- Expertise in an area
- Accepting of others
Raising a child with autism can be extremely unpredictable, and if you are feeling overwhelmed, arming yourself with a plan of action and a core group of folks that can offer advice can make a world of difference in helping you feel in control. They can listen and answer questions. They will encourage and celebrate you and your kiddo. They can remind you when you lay your head down at night to remember that you too can find the positive power of autism.
All my best to you,