Autism

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Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.

Strengths and abilities in autism

Autistic people may display a range of strengths and abilities that can be directly related to their diagnosis, including:

  • Learning to read at a very early age (known as hyperlexia).
  • Memorising and learning information quickly.
  • Thinking and learning in a visual way.
  • Logical thinking ability.
  • Being dependable in regards to schedules and routines.
  • Having an extraordinarily good memory (being able to remember facts for a long period of time).
  • A rare freshness and sense of wonderment.
  • Having an excellent sense of direction.
  • Be very punctual
  • Able to concentrate for long periods of time when motivated.
  • A drive for perfection and order.
  • A capability for alternate problem solving.

How does autism affect children, adults and their families?

The term 'autism' is used here to describe all diagnostic profiles, including Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

  • Without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.
  • Autism is much more common than many people think.
  • There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that's more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.
  • Autism doesn't just affect children.
  • Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.
  • Autism is a hidden disability – you can't always tell if someone is autistic.

Positive features of autism

Understanding, embracing and celebrating different ways of thinking and doing can release the true power of the autistic mind.

Absorb and retain facts
• Excellent long term memory
• Superior recall

Visual skills
• Visual learning and recall
• Detail-focused

Expertise
• In-depth knowledge
• High level of skills

Accepting of difference
• Less likely to judge others
• May question norms

Attention to detail
• Thoroughness
• Accuracy

Observational skills
• Listen, look, learn approach
• Fact finding

Methodical approach
• Analytical
• Spotting patterns, repetition

Novel approaches
• Unique thought processes
• Innovative solutions

Creativity
• Distinctive imagination
• Expression of ideas

Tenacity and resilience
• Determination
• Challenge opinions

Deep focus
• Concentration
• Freedom from distraction

Integrity
• Honesty, loyalty
• Commitment

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