Competent, capable, different not disabled
It’s perfectly possible for aspies to be successful, have relationships, to be tactful and to support and manage others.
I know this because one of my friends is very inconveniently doing all of that. This rather destroys my beliefs: “I can’t do X because I have autism”.
The Spectrum — a balanced view
Autism is officially defined as a triad of impairments in communication, social interaction and imagination. This is unhelpful because:
(a) these things are effects and not causes;
(b) there are many features of being on the spectrum that do not fall into one of these three camps and cannot be made to do so; and
(c) this description is not fair to us. How do you think that people described like this will feel about themselves?
When we think about communication, social interaction and imagination, I think we should take a more balanced view, which includes the positives as well as the negatives. There is a mirror-image advantage for every disadvantage… it just takes some real “imagination” to see it. I would like to challenge autism professionals to develop this kind of imagination…
Advantages of having autistic spectrum traits of communication
· We say what we mean – people know what we are saying and where they stand with us. There is no hidden agenda.
· Precision and attention to detail.
· Enjoyment of language.
· Possible abilities in foreign languages.
· Possible abilities in computer languages.
· We probably won’t be doing a lot of gossiping or bad-mouthing other people.
· We tend to talk about important stuff, not trivialities.
Disadvantages of having autistic spectrum traits of communication
· It is difficult to lie, deceive or present ourselves in the best possible light.
· People might mistake us for being rude when we are not meaning to be.
· It can be hard to cope with other people who lie.
· It can be hard to understand other people who are not as precise as we are.
· It can be difficult to participate in large-group conversations.
· Small-talk might be difficult. People might not understand why we are not keen to discuss the weather.
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