At first glance, just hearing the words ‘autism’ or ‘autism spectrum disorder’ (ASD) ignites feelings of anguish and sadness. Growing up with any mental disorder is certainly a challenge but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There are actually plenty of advantages that autistic people have over everyone else. While it’s certainly not an ideal situation, with the right mindset and education, an autistic person can flourish in society and then some. Hence, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the top 10 unique advantages that autistic people have. Let’s get started.
1. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE ENJOY THEIR MINDS MORE
It’s 7 am. The clouds above are unleashing a hellish combination of sleet and snow on your Monday morning commute to work. The train is crowded, your shoes are soaking wet and some guy is blasting his music to the whole train like everyone enjoys it. To escape the mundane and depressing environment, you go to your iPhone to play some Candy Crush. However, a problem arises. You, in your tired stupor last night, forgot to charge your iPhone. Hence, you have no escape on this hell train. It’s just you, your thoughts and the old lady breathing down your neck.
Why this long and sad story? Well, it’s a scenario that many people find themselves in every day. However, for those with autism, this situation might not be so much of an issue. According to mothers of children with ASD, they believe their children enjoy their minds more. Hence, they don’t need people or devices to entertain them. They can be at peace within their own minds. They are lovers of routine who don’t get bored so easily. The black-and-white way of thinking makes even the most stoic environments more interesting and full of passionate opportunities.
2. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE HAVE A STREAMLINED MIND
Laurent Mottron is a psychiatrist at the University of Montreal. She has studied autism and ASD for years and she suggests that those with the disorder have streamlined mind of sorts. By this, she means that the autistic mind seeks out certain information that it prefers. In addition, it will ignore irrelevant materials such as social and verbal cues. Hence, it is much better at processing information like patterns and numbers instead of having a more well-rounded mind like most people. In 2011, Mottron discovered that people with autism and ASD focus more of their brain power on visual processing compared to tasks like planning and controlling impulses. Hence, his 2009 study concluded that autistic people are more than 40 percent faster at solving problems.
3. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE HAVE BETTER MEMORIES
For this one, we once again return to the studies of Laurent Mottron. Following his work, Mottron also discovered that people with ASD and autism have superb memories. This involves remembering small details that most people skip over and also long-ago events that many seem to forget. Hence, Mottron often collaborates with Michelle Dawson in his lab. Dawson is a music researcher who can instantly recall certain events that easily escape that of Mottron.
4. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE HAVE BETTER PERCEPTION
Anyone who has a friend with autism or ASD knows that they see the world in a different way. This is certainly different than the mainstream way of perception. For example, most people who think in a “mainstream” kind of way learn very early on that the world is not so black and white. Autistic people on the another hand might see a right and wrong way to do everything. However, there is an advantage to this sort of thinking. Autistic children enter the world with a uniquely open mind. They can see the world from views that many “normal” children can not. Hence, they have a different perception of certain situations. This makes them real thinkers than see beyond the obvious answer and can weave in and out of conflicts with ease at times.
5. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE HAVE UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
Autism and ASD people need to face each day with more strength and mental toughness than most people can even imagine. This challenge gives autistic people a unique perspective on life. It’s a stereotype that most autistic people can not deal with real life problems or feelings easily, causing them to overreact. However, with the proper guidance, autistic children can grow into thriving adults that have a supreme balance over their emotions without overreacting to trivial issues or self-pity. This unique perspective helps them remain calm during tough situations and instead become thoughtful rather than more reactionary.
6. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE MAKE GREAT LEADERS
Another great advantage of autism is that it can help children grow into confident leaders that are comfortable navigating difficult situations and even motivating others. ASD people learn to see the potential in their followers. They can see differences in working styles and ways to welcome new workers instead of lead by fear alone. Autistic adults are often compassionate people, innovators, and creators. All qualities that make for a great leader.
7. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE ARE COURAGEOUS
As mentioned earlier, autism and ASD people need a tremendous amount of courage by default. Dealing with society on a day to day basis means they need the courage to deal with non-conformity. Hence, autism and ASD people learn how to just be themselves and share their ideas without being influenced by mainstream thought. The see the public perception of what it truly is and know when to take or leave an outside opinion.
8. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE ARE MORE CREATIVE
Many autistic and ASD people have spectacular abilities and skills. While not all are creative, most do have a talent of some sort. Whether it’s music, arts, writing or just expressing a unique point of view, autistic people are at an advantage compared to their peers. Furthermore, they have a unique way of communicating, which helps to nurture creativity.
9. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE ARE MORE HONEST
While the lack of social and verbal cues is usually seen as a negative, it has its positive benefits as well. For example, autism and ASD people tend to be more honest than the everyday person. Most people fear honesty. They would rather tell a small white lie rather than rock the boat in a social situation. Autistic people, on the other hand, do not pick up these social cues. Hence, they do not fear honesty and will tell you whether that shirt looks good or not, among other things.
10. AUTISM AND ASD PEOPLE MAKE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHERS
One side effect for autism and ASD people is a sensitivity to light and colors. While this may seem like an annoyance for many, it actually comes in handy for aspiring photographers and artists. Many of the most well-known and successful artists had some degree of autistic tendencies. They are innovators and creators that see things most people can not see. Beethoven, Mozart, and Immanuel Kant all have received post-mortem diagnoses of Aspergers. Even Issac Newton worked non-stop for three days without eating due to his autistic tendencies. The fact is, those with the mental disorder have an extreme attention to detail and can pursue their passions for long periods of time. The social downsides are well known and unfortunate but that doesn’t mean an ASD person misses out on leading a successful and fruitful life.