As the saying goes, if you’ve met one person on the Spectrum, you’ve met one person on the Spectrum. We’re all different, and as such there is an endless range of talents and strengths that can go hand in hand with Autism. Since writing an endless list would take an unfeasible amount of time and manpower, I’ve trimmed it down to 5 of the more prevalent ones for today’s entry in our 5th Birthday series. Naturally these traits won’t apply to every single Autistic, but that’s the beauty of human diversity. Enjoy!
Those of us on the Spectrum can often have a laser-like focus on the things that we are interested in. We’re able to concentrate intensely on these subjects, which can allow us to be extremely productive in jobs and roles that centre on our interest. For example, my passion is writing, and when I get an idea I really like, I can sit down and write an entire article in a matter of minutes, as I am doing right now!
Similarly, our enthusiasm and fixation on certain subjects often leads to an encyclopaedic knowledge of said subject. We can become experts from a young age, able to recall the most obscure details about our special interests. Among the young people on the Spectrum I work with at I CAN Network there are specialists on everything from AFL to space to Harry Potter to vintage cars. Some may call this obsession, but here at I CAN, we like to think of it as expertise!
The head games and deception that are so common in the social sphere commonly strike us Autistics as a bit pointless. We say what we mean; we’re direct, honest, and reliable. If we say we’ll be somewhere at 4pm, we’ll be there at 4pm. If we think something is a waste of time or that there is a better way of doing something, we’ll say so. To borrow a phrase I may be getting a little too old to pull off, we “keep it real”.
Life isn’t always easy when you’re an Autistic trying to make your way in a world designed for Neurotypicals, but what never ceases to amaze me is the bravery and guts with which Autistics confront this often stressful situation. Walking into school or a crowded room can sometimes be like an arachnophobe walking into Aragog’s lair from Harry Potter, yet we grit our teeth and do it anyway.
Thinking outside the box
Us Autistics often see the world quite differently to our Neurotypical peers, and as a result we’re often able to offer a fresh perspective, and come up with ideas and solutions that others may not consider. In our society we face many challenges and conundrums, and the ability to think differently is invaluable to solving these and creating a better future for everyone.
Now, obviously there are a multitude of other positive traits I could list, but as the theme of this series is 5 (for the 5 years that I CAN Network has existed for) that’s it for today’s piece. Stay tuned for more as our 5th birthday draws closer!
Max Williams, Editor