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Positive Aspects of Autism

Updated on January 17, 2013
Enjoying the ocean - a simple pleasure in life
Enjoying the ocean - a simple pleasure in life | Source

Autism isn’t a dirty word. It’s not something to hide or be ashamed of. While in the past, people with disabilities were pushed off to the side, hidden, or institutionalized, we no longer feel that need. We are now able to embrace difference and understand that with difference comes good and bad. I’m not arguing that autism is always positive; I know of many people who have children who are unable to communicate at all and have difficulties every day.

My son is autistic, and he’s now 10 years old. He was diagnosed at two, and we’ve been working with him and others to help him for eight years. There are good and bad days. There are some problems we can’t overcome. There are some issues we may never resolve. But through it all, it’s important to remember that it’s not a curse, and there are, in fact, blessings associated with it.

autism: the great modern health concern
autism: the great modern health concern | Source

Wretches and Jabberers - Trailer for the Movie


Diversity isn’t a bad word. Many high-functioning people with Autism and Asperger’s argue that there isn’t anything “wrong” with them; they are simply different. They want to live their own lives, enjoy what they enjoy, and do what they do. While they may seem to have a disability to us, they don’t feel that it is something that needs to be “fixed” or “cured.” Being able to accept people who have differences is good. If we closed our minds to people who thought of things differently, we would never be exposed to different ways of looking at things or experiencing them.

Child-like wonder

Some cultures celebrate their Autistic residents and members. They see them as being “blessed” with a child-like wonder and innocence. Since lower-functioning people with Autism may stay at a low level of functioning, they often act like children. They may always believe in Santa Claus. They may never lose their faith in humanity. They may think that a rainstorm is as wonderful as the rainbow that comes after it. These are not minor things to be ignored or taken for granted. They should be celebrated.

The enjoyment of the little things in life

My son can spend hours writing the same phrase over and over. He can go out to swing in the backyard multiple times a day. He can hug his stuffed Pat the Bunny toys and sleep with them every night. He doesn’t need expensive video games or flashy toys to show off. He enjoys what life has to offer, and he doesn’t ask for more.

Temple Grandin: The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow (BBC)

Interest that turns into vast knowledge

In the case of some people with Autism, especially those with Asperger’s, they may turn a hobby into something more. They may memorize Pi to the 22,514th place. They may, like Temple Grandin, completely revolutionize an entire industry and change the view of cattle slaughterhouses forever. They may be math or science prodigies. They may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars as professional surfers.

Challenges us to be our best

While we may not always like to admit it, we can all have some bad habits, say mean things, or just overall be bad people in some way, shape, or form. When you’re dealing with someone with Autism or Asperger’s though, you are challenged to be the best person you can be. They may be learning from you every minute, and you need to make sure that what they’re learning is good. You can’t be mean to someone with Autism – they may not understand, but if they do, they will feel hurt more than you can imagine. They cannot conceive of the cruelty we have towards each other, and so we need to be our best to help them and treat them right.

Honest and literal

My friend’s daughter has Asperger’s. One day, she tried to teach me how to draw a monster. She showed me how. I tried to copy hers. She laughed at me and said, “No, really, try to do it.” What she didn’t know was that I had tried; I just have no artistic ability. Sure, she didn’t know that she shouldn’t have laughed. She didn’t understand that social convention that says that you compliment a person if they put effort into something. But at least I knew exactly where I stood. I knew I wasn’t any good at drawing, and she wasn’t going to pretend I was just to soothe my ego. It helps to know that someone will be honest with you, that someone will tell you exactly where you stand.

Who might have been on the Autistic spectrum

While there is no evidence that any of the people have a form of Autism, some of their behaviors lead people to believe that perhaps they might have been somewhere on the Autistic spectrum. These people include Virginia Woolf, Andy Kaufman, Vincent Van Gogh, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci.


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