Autism Acceptance Month: Autistic Kids are Awesome!

Embrace autism differences

I have been so lucky to meet and get to know so many different AMAZING children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unfortunately, the diagnostic process, by nature, is often focused on ways these children are struggling. Although children with Autism are experiencing differences in their development, different does not always mean less. Sometimes, differences can be strengths; it just depends on how you look at things.

We all have things we’re good at and things we need to practice. That’s true for Autistic kids, too. Every child I’ve ever met with Autism has been unique, but some patterns of strengths are more common. Keeping in mind that Autism is a spectrum and behaviours can differ significantly between two children with the same diagnosis, here are some of the strengths I’ve seen.

Understanding Visual Information. This can show itself in a lot of different ways. Some Autistic kids are amazing at puzzles. Some like to make patterns. Some can see patterns in the visual world that others won’t notice or will notice when something is out of place way before anyone else. Autistic kids are good at noticing things with their eyes.

Thinking Logically. Autistic kids can be very good at approaching the world logically. They can think through situations step-by-step and not get distracted by irrelevant details. They can gather the facts and stick to them.

Thinking Independently. Autistic kids think for themselves! They’re very good at deciding what is right or what they like without being influenced by other people around them. They’re less likely to be swayed by things like peer pressure and more likely to decide what is true to them. This can show itself in various ways, from fashion choices to social causes.

Following Rules. Autistic kids are often good at following rules. They enjoy the sense of order that rules afford and recognize that following the rules contributes to that order. They can often recognize when others are breaking the rules and will often help ensure that rules are followed!

Following Routines. Autistic kids are great at following routines. They can be very good at punctuality because they’ve developed good routines to ensure they are always where they’re supposed to be on time! When they follow routines that they know well, day-to-day activities often run smoothly and are easy.

Strong Sense of Justice and Fairness. Autistic kids have a great sense of right and wrong. They like things to be “fair” and will often adjust their expectations to ensure that situations end fairly for everyone. Likewise, when something has ended unfairly, Autistic kids often believe that there should be consequences.

Passionate Interests. Autistic kids are often passionate about what they are interested in. Sometimes, they are passionate about topics that only a few others are passionate about and will become experts in that area. Sometimes, they are driven to learn everything there is to know about a topic. The topics Autistic kids are interested in vary widely. But once they are interested in something, they can often focus and learn much about it quickly.

Resilience. Autistic kids are living in a world that wasn’t designed with their needs in mind. But they have adapted and coped in so many ways! Autistic kids can be happy and content even though some things are hard for them.

Our world needs people who think differently. That’s how we solve problems and don’t get stuck! All of the unique ways that Autistic kids are different also make this world a more interesting and wonderful place to live.

Author:

Dr. Heather Eritz, Ph.D., Registered Doctoral Psychologist