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.
After a 30+ relationship. That became intolerable (though still together) after I was forced to stop working because of severe chronic pain and my husbands reaction was anything but empathetic.
Our therapist refused to see him anymore because "he is so passive aggressive, I can't deal with him."
I have read everything I can get my hands on about Asperger's . I am 100% sure it's the issue .It's a revelation that finally gives me hope. if it's something he can not control I think I can forgive.
My problem is the next step, a diagnosis. I don't believe I have the patience to start fresh with a new therapist. I started with the one mentioned above knowing his actions were PA, 20 months later .....
see statement above. I am also afraid if I bring it up myself, it will just bring on more anger from him, he is not abusive.
I just completed "Asperger Syndrome and Long Term Relationships" by Ashley Stanford she suggested leaving out a list of the positive traits which led me to this site. Here is my issue, all seems to apply except the prejudice bit. He has become of late a bit extreme in his politics (in my opinion.)
to the point of no logic. I believe it's his fixation and a way to get under my skin.
Do you think presenting the list is a good idea? I guess I would actually have to post it to get his attention.
Deborah, I recently read a first hand account of a gentleman who was diagnosed with Aspergers. You might want to present him with this online test for aspergers, which is the same one that this gentleman took at his wife's prompting. When he saw his score, he had a hard time discounting the diagnosis. Of course, they got further testing by a healthcare professional familiar with Asperger's, but it was the beginning of his journey toward greater awareness, and it saved his marriage.
After reading your post I'm wondering if it's possible to have just "some" traits of Aspergers. All most all of the traits you mentioned I see in myself and in my brother, yet we were never considered autistic in any way. It's an interesting concept to think that perhaps some of the traits you mention must be strong enough to set a person aside as being different.
Dina, thanks for stopping by. In order to 'have' an autism spectrum condition in a clinical sense, you need to meet a minimum of certain criteria. Here's a page I found that lists those out. If you don't technically meet those, then you would not have the diagnosis. However, there are certain traits, as you mentioned, that many people can have. If there are enough traits to make you wonder, it may be worth checking into a more expert diagnosis.
Hi. Very thought-provoking post. I have been thinking about the 'upside' a lot lately as my 7 yr old AS son grows more into himself. When he is calm and happy he is able to share his amazing personality and his gifts with those around him. Did you know that recent research supports the view that AS can be an evolutionary advantage in certain circumstances ? I blogged about it here: http://www.melindasmith.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/a-prehistory-of-autism/
I think these ideas are so important. I made a similar post on my blog if you would like to check it out: http://j.mp/m5RvFQ. Thanks for your contribution!
it is so great to see these traits, which you listed.
It would be so great if more of the population had those traits - and especially if people would acknowledge that people with aspergers have them.
Unique perspective and little or no prejudice - that is so precious!
Thank you so much for raising the awareness!
Love and Joy
Yorinda, I'm so pleased to have met you here on this blog. I've been so blessed to know individuals on the autism spectrum. They've taught me quite a bit! I'm blessed to be able to learn more about this topic every day, and I'm privileged to raise the awareness :)
Dear Steve, I've been reading several of you posts here and just love them all. And this one just brought tears to my eyes. If you ever ready my book Naked in Eden, which will be out sometimes this fall you will understand why. But for now, suffice to say that I am deeply touched by your depth of insight and openness. You have a beautifully open heart and that comes though in all your writing, insights and comments to others. I am deeply grateful. You are literally changing the world. Thank you from my heart, Robin
Robin, it's so sweet of you to write this. I know I've felt exactly the same way about your writings and your blog. I'll be looking to reading your book this fall! It's probably that aspect of changing our world (solving the puzzle, according to your recent metaphor :) that inspires me the most in all my writings. Thanks for being my companion on the journey :)
Nice writeup, and it is definitely important to remember that all autistic kids are unique. They need patience, understanding, and to be able to work on their strengths!--http://autism.infogateway.info/http://superbooks.info/
Sure http://autism.infogateway.info/ is a site I am trying to build. Granted it does not look like much now, but one key feature I am trying to have is the "ASD eBook" (link at the top). I am hoping to collect articles and similar that are helpful for people learning about autism. People are welcome to comment and contribute content to the eBook. I also post blog entries there when I see something interesting- whether it be a book or a blog post somewhere else. People are welcome to comment of course, and in fact I welcome people to come and guest blog - sign up and they can have their own blog- and I am happy to promote quality posts to my front page. Thanks for asking!