photo credit Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr
Positive psychology is a breath of fresh air in the field of psychology. For too long, psychology followed a medical model, in which you are diagnosed with a condition, given a diagnosis, and then told about all the things that are wrong with you. Unfortunately, this thinking can spill over into the world of adults and children with Asperger’s syndrome, so that they unconsciously start to absorb some negative thoughts about themselves.
Like everyone on the face of the earth, we are people, with a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Children with Asperger’s are different, but they are not defective. In fact, Dr. Temple Grandin, an animal scientist, herself diagnosed with autism, argues that the world needs all different kinds of minds, including the Autism/Asperger’s minds.
Trustworthy and Reliable
Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome don’t have hidden agendas. Unlike many NT’s, Aspies will tell it like it is. What you see is what you get, and what you hear is what they mean.
Individuals on do want friends. Don’t get me wrong. However, their need for friends may not be as frequent or intense as other children. They are wired to be more comfortable by themselves. Because of not feeling the need for social contact as strongly as other individuals, they can be taught to select honest, genuine, and dependable persons like themselves, who share their interests.
Although individuals with Asperger’s struggle with seeing the big picture, they are gifted with the ability to focus intently on details of things and situations. Because of this, they may able to come up with innovative solutions to problems. Because children with Asperger’s have the ability to focus long and hard on their areas of interest, they can make great academic and scientific strides in their areas of interest.
Little or No Prejudice
Perhaps because they know what it is like to be different or quirky, children and individuals with Asperger’s tend to be more accepting of others. They are more focused on people’s behavior, versus on hierarchies or social position. They can teach the rest of the world a lot of accepting people for who they are, rather than pre-judging others.
The idea of trying to cheat on the job, or to slack in their work, does not occur to children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome. They are conscientious, diligent workers. They may need initial instruction, support, and coaching, but once they are situated, they can be enormously productive and loyal employees. John Robison, author of Look Me In The Eye, is a man of high intelligence, ingenuity, and business savvy. He designed the guitars that smoked and lit up for KISS, and he owns his own high end restoration automotive business! Not to mention the fact that he is a tireless advocate for Asperger’s.
Intelligence and Perseverance
While there is not necessarily any scientific evidence, Dr. Temple Grandin, diagnosed with high functioning Autism, believes there are quite a few individuals with Aspeger’s in the Silicon Valley and in NASA. Children with Asperger’s, while not all geniuses, do have very active and curious minds. And once they find their interests, they are tenacious in pursuing them. This is a very strong combination that they benefit from.