08 Jul 2019

Positive autism

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5 mins

Autisme kan ook mooi zijn Let’s talk about positive autism! There is much talk about the negative sides of autism, the disadvantages and the issues that people with autism encounter. Things that are not going well. Of course this is very natural for people to talk about things that are not going well, we want to express our heart about that. But sometimes it makes you tired. Certainly in “fellow sufferers” groups on Facebook, for example, many “negative” stories come by. This often results in autism being seen as something negative. Like a curse. Yet there are certainly positive sides to autism. I’m going to talk in particular about my own form of autism, Asperger’s syndrome. This is because I have experience with it myself. I cannot speak from my own experience about the other forms of autism, so I don’t do that either.

Out-of-the-box thinking

Something that people with Asperger can do well is the so-called “out-of-the-box” thinking. This actually comes naturally! Because information processing works differently for people with autism, we think differently about things. As a result, we often come up with a different view of things. Something I have learned is that my view of things differs from the way other people view things. Where I used to think everyone thought this way, I now know that isn’t so!

These days I express my thoughts about things. I didn’t do that before. I thought that what I thought about a problem was so logical that people had already figured it out. Now I know it doesn’t have to be that way! So I express my idea. Sometimes that leads to new insights from other people. It sometimes turns out that the idea is innovative enough to give people a different view of a problem. This does not necessarily mean that the problem is solved, but it can lead to a solution that has not been thought of before.

Honest and direct

People with autism do less often to turn things around or to bring something careful. It is often a relief for people to hear a “real” opinion from someone. Just as it is, and not wrapped in careful words. It is true that this is sometimes described as “cold”, “blunt” or “unsympathetic” for people. However, if someone wants to know a clear opinion, without compromise, then they are usually at the right address with an autist.

Different view, same bricks

Attention to detail

Most people with autism / Asperger have a good eye for detail. Sometimes their things stand out that others overlook. Although they sometimes miss essentials because of this, they again see the small details that other people have not noticed. As a result, they can, for example, be good at drawing or in precise subjects. They can also describe and view things in detail.

Hyperfocus as a strength

Someone with Asperger sometimes has a hyper focus while performing a certain task. This focus is often so strong that (almost) nothing can break this. This allows them to be very focused on a task and they are not distracted by anything. Completing this task has priority over (almost) everything. This is a special property from which you can get a lot of power, as long as you know how to deal with it.

It is also important to discover how this works for you and what your environment can do. When I am in a hyper-focus it rarely makes sense to communicate with me. I totally ignore you. It is important to know that this is unconscious. It is not for an evil intention that I ignore you; I just don’t really notice that you are talking to me! Agreements can be made about how to communicate during a hyper focus; for example via Facebook or Whatsapp. Maybe weird if you just sit next to me; but I don’t hear you, don’t see you and sometimes I don’t even feel you. Touching can cause a severe shock (suddenly you’re there, for me at least)!

But as said; it is definitely a strength. By being completely absorbed in a task and not being distracted by anything, the task is carried out to the full of my potential.

Predictable

People with autism need structure. This has an additional advantage; they are predictable. If you want to stick to routines it is often easier for the outside world to predict what you are doing. This offers a constant and a certain predictability. People know where they stand and hardly need to think about what you are doing.

Example of years ago; I always watched Star Trek: The Next Generation at a certain time. This was broadcast on TV at a certain time and I always watched this. A friend just called me when an episode started. I pushed it away (do not disturb during my series!) And watched my episode. When the episode was over, and the credits came on the screen, my friend immediately called me. He said; “Yes, I thought when you pushed me away that it was time for your series, so I looked in the TV guide and yes! So I waited until the end of the episode. But what I’m calling for ….”

Predictability. Perhaps not an advantage that you immediately consider, but it is certainly a support for the environment!

What do you think?

What are things that you experience as positive about autism? Are there any benefits that I have missed or have not thought of? Let me know in the comments, via Facebook, via Twitter or via other ways. I would love to hear from you and what your experiences are with the positive aspects of autism.

Thanks for reading
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Tags: dit-is-autisme positief autisme 
Picture of the author David Westerink
David Westerink
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I am David, born in 1984 and I have Asperger's syndrome.

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