Autism Awareness Month | April 2 – Autism Awareness Day
Each April, we recognize Autism Awareness Month and Autism Awareness Day on April 2. While individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD, previously categorized as Asperger’s syndrome) can face difficulties such as trying to fit in, relationship issues, or increased vulnerability, there are benefits to having ASD as well. While life can be more challenging with ASD, it can also be wonderful – and we choose to recognize that! Here are five amazing things about being on the autism spectrum:
Ability of Focus
Individuals with ASD often have the ability to focus very intently on one subject, which can be a wonderful asset to many subjects such as research and development. This is often because people with ASD have fixated interests that can be abnormal in intensity or focus, such as an attachment to a particular interest. While this can lead to the exclusion of other areas, this increased focus can be beneficial for many as they enter the workforce in their area of interest.
Connection with Animals
While not all individuals with ASD enjoy animals, many people with ASD greatly enjoy animals and connect with them. Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University Temple Grandin, who has ASD herself, believes this is because of an ability of many individuals with ASD to communicate with animals on a non-verbal level. Research has shown that animals have a positive effect on people with ASD, improving their social interaction skills.
Structure and Organization
Individuals with ASD have a desire for organization, routine, and structure in their daily lives. Without these systems in place, they can become easily overwhelmed. Organization and structure are important to mental wellbeing for many, even those that are neurotypical. This skill can be a benefit for many, such as having the ability to complete tasks on time or arrive to appointments and meetings on schedule.
Attention to Detail
With the ability to focus intently and perform repetitive high-quality tasks, people with ASD often have strong abilities to find anomalies and patterns. This strong eye for detail has many people with ASD in high-demand by companies, especially in the tech sector.
Creativity and Sensory Awareness
It can be overwhelming for people with ASD to experience our world in a different sensory way than neurotypical individuals. Sounds, scents, and touch can quickly become paralyzing. However, this sensitivity can improve creativity by amplifying sensory richness. Prior studies have shown that people with ASD have more high-quality ideas than neurotypical people.
By focusing on strengths and the aspects of personalities that make people with ASD stand out, we can recognize their unique abilities and strengths that people with ASD bring to workplaces and communities.