Dear Parents,

If you’re tired of hearing about the problems, challenges, and negatives associated with your child’s Autism diagnosis, we get it.

It’s human nature to focus on the struggles, rather than recognizing the positives, but we’re here to remind you about the many blessings associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

From creativity and independent thinking to focus, people on the spectrum tend to exhibit uniquely special qualities, which are often rare and sometimes nonexistent among neurotypical individuals.

In short, your child and these qualities are worth celebrating!

We’re certainly not making light of the struggles facing those on the spectrum and their families…

We imagine that receiving your child’s diagnosis brought on waves of emotion you probably didn’t think possible.  Intimidation, fear, panic, denial, and stress, you’ve likely felt it all. The emotion coupled with the barrage of information from doctors and medical professionals, we recognize that the road has probably been challenging at times.

The purpose of this letter, however, is to shine a light on the many advantages that often come with ASD.  We encourage you to stand proudly for the truly unique traits your child may exhibit.

Like Hans Asperger, the namesake for the former diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome once said…

“It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential.”

AN ASD “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE”

While every child on the spectrum is different, here are just a few of the many blessings that often come with an ASD diagnosis.

HONESTY & AUTHENTICITY

While we claim to value honesty above all, neurotypical people actively hide truths (i.e. “Do I look fat in this outfit? Tell me the truth—I won’t get mad!”) from the people around them.  People on the autism spectrum will say what accurately reflects their feelings, even if it means responding with brutal honesty.  This may partially be due to the fact that many autistic people are unaware of or baffled by others’ choice to conceal the truth or hide their real intentions.  Many Asperger’s Syndrome sufferers do not comprehend the need for lies, especially the “white lies” that are often told in social situations.

This refreshing, truthful, agenda-free approach will ultimately result in fewer head games or beating around the bush. Awkward social situations may potentially ensue, but how wonderful that these individuals place a higher value on truth and honestly than social niceties?  And…if you get a compliment from your autistic child, rest assured they mean it!

LIVING IN THE MOMENT

People with ASD tend to be more dialed into the sensory input that surrounds them.  They live in the moment. Many can achieve an ideal level of mindfulness that only comes when one is not so easily distracted by things and people around them.

Between mindless chatter and the buzz of smartphones, neurotypical people often fail to notice the beauty of the world.

GROUNDED & DOWN TO EARTH

People with ASD hold much less value on prestige, social status or material items and probably won’t fall into the typical trap of “keeping up.”  Your autistic child is less likely to dwell on comparing themselves to others and valuing things like money, popularity or expensive things.

In fact, people on the spectrum often see through such surface appearances to discover the real person, making them more accepting of people with disabilities and those different than themselves.  In comparison to a typical peer that might avoid a classmate with Down Syndrome or physical disability, people with autism are more likely to be accepting of differences.

PASSIONATE AND DETAIL ORIENTED

Many autistic people are often passionate about the things, ideas, and people in their lives, so much so that they spend a lot of time and energy to master their area of interest.

Despite the issues surrounding a weak central coherence, where the autistic individual can become completely lost in the details, it is that same “deficit” that enables the same person to focus so intensely on details.  Because people on the spectrum are so much more focused on the particulars, they tend to have a better memory than their neurotypical peers. In fact, a surprisingly large number of people on the spectrum have photographic memories, perfect pitch, and/or an almost perfect memory for songs, poems, and stories. This skill can be a huge asset in so many situations!

It’s interesting to note that many IT companies are actively seeking people with ASD for employment. Their argument is that due to their intense focus on details, rather than on whether a program “works” or not, many of these individuals can find issues with software that others overlook.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING

It is almost common knowledge that people with autism see things differently than those who are considered neurotypical.  Many neurotypical people have observed that having an autistic person in their life has positively impacted their perceptions, beliefs, and expectations.

Being the parent of a child with autism can potentially release you from a lifetime of “should”—and offer you a new world of “is.”

INTELLIGENT & PROBLEM SOLVING

Research has shown that children with Asperger’s Syndrome have a higher level of fluid intelligence, as well as a higher than average IQ than non-autistic children.  Fluid intelligence is the “ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems. It is the ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquiring knowledge.” (Wikipedia 2009).

Some historians believe that many leaders in their fields such as Thomas Jefferson, Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein exhibited certain on the spectrum traits.  These experts reiterate how “non-typical” thinking may have resulted in ideas that would profoundly affect history and future generations.

Regardless if these important people actually had ASD is irrelevant, as the speculation itself proves that the positive qualities and necessity of autistic thought are worth recognizing and celebrating.

AUTISM AS AN ADVANTAGE

Autistic people are unique, and as Temple Grandin, a prominent author and speaker, says, “Different but not less.”

We, at the American Brain Society, would agree.

Let the wonderful reasons we’ve highlighted – among them, honesty, authenticity, passion, and intelligence – serve as constant reminders of the joy and blessings that can be present because of an ASD diagnosis.  It is our deepest hope that your child’s unique and special gifts overshadow any struggles you may experience.

Today (and every day!), we celebrate them and you.

The United Brain Association

*Content published by the United Brain Association (UBA), such as text, graphics, reports, images, and other materials created by UBA and other materials contained on unitedbrainassociation.org are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the unitedbrainassociation.org.

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