Sunday, August 20, 2006

Top Ten Terrific Traits of Autistic People

I found this online and thought I would share.

Top 10 Terrific Traits of Autistic People
From Lisa Jo Rudy,

If you're sick of hearing about all the "deficits" challenging people on the autism spectrum, join the club! But for every down side to autism, there seems to be a positive -- an unusual trait that rarely appears among the "typical" community, but shines out among autistic folk. These plusses are well worth celebrating.

1) Autistic People Rarely Lie
We all claim to value the truth, but almost all of us tell little white lies. All, that is, except people on the autism spectrum. To them, truth is truth -- and a good word from a person on the spectrum is the real deal.

2) People on the Autism Spectrum Live in the Moment
How often do typical people fail to notice what's in front of their eyes because they're distracted by social cues or random chitchat? People on the autism spectrum truely attend to the sensory input that surrounds them. Many have achieved the ideal of mindfulness.

3) People with Autism Rarely Judge Others
Who's fatter? Richer? Smarter? For people on the autism spectrum, these distinctions hold much less importance than for typical folks. In fact, people on the spectrum often see through such surface appearances to discover the real person.

4) Autistic People are Passionate
Of course, not all autistic people are alike. But many are truly passionate about the things, ideas and people in their lives. How many "typical" people can say the same?

5) People with Autism Are Not Tied to Social Expectations
If you've ever bought a car, played a game or joined a club to fit in, you know how hard it is to be true to yourself. But for people with autism, social expectations can be honestly irrelevant. What matters is true liking, interest and passion -- not keeping up with the Joneses.

6) People with Autism Have Terrific Memories
How often do typical people forget directions, or fail to take note of colors, names, and other details? People on the autism spectrum are often much more tuned in to details. They may have a much better memory than their typical peers for all kind of critical details.

7) Autistic People Are Less Materialistic
Of course, this is not universally true -- but in general, people with autism are far less concerned with outward appearance than their typical peers. As a result, they worry less about brand names, hairstyles and other expensive but unimportant externals than most people do.

8) Autistic People Play Fewer Head Games
Who was that woman, and why were you looking at her? I know I TOLD you I didn't mind if you went out, but why did you believe me? Most autistic people don't play games like these -- and they assume that you won't either. It's a refreshing and wonderful change from the Peyton Place emotional roller coaster that mars too many typical relationships!

9) Autistic People Have Fewer Hidden Agendas
Most of the time, if a person on the autism spectrum tells you what he wants -- he is telling you what he wants. No need to beat around the bush, second guess, and hope you're reading between the lines!

10) People with Autism Open New Doors for Neurotypicals
For some of us neurotypicals, having an autistic person in our lives has had a profound positive impact on our perceptions, beliefs and expectations. For me, at least, being the mom of a son on the autism spectrum has released me from a lifetime of "should" -- and offered me a new world of "is."

Important product disclaimer information about this About site.
Updated: August 15, 2006
Lisa Jo Rudy is a veteran science writer and author of dozens of articles and educational materials for organizations including the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation. As the mother of a boy with autism, she is also an active member of the autism community.

We had a typical day yesterday. Our big chore for the day was to get all the school supplies. So, we woke up around 10am(more on our nightmarish night later), Michael ate some cereal,Nicholas had his ever favorite strawberry Pop-tart for breakfast, and I had cereal. Mike got up shortly after and I informed him of our plan for the day. He said he wanted to come with us, and as I picked my jaw up off the floor, he got ready to go. Finally, around noon I had everyone dressed and primped up and we were out the door. Nick was giddy with excitement as he got to fully experience the bumpy,yellow,concrete safety ramp as we walked to the entrance. Hands flailed,he did his little "Happy Dance" and shouted "Bobbiiieeee!!!" He could not resist bending down to touch the bumps. We entered the store, and Nick was having a great time going between the carpeted jewelry section,to the smooth tile floor. We thought all would be hunky-dory, and then we got to the school section. We went to the main school display in the back of the store, and the screaming began! We tried in vain to calm him,but nothing worked...he was absolutely terrified. I followed his terrified look to the display ads. They were mounted on cardboard bins and were turning in circles. There were about 4 of these displays, and poor Nicholas was absolutely petrified. He was shrieking with fear. I began a desperate search for anything he could twirl....pencil,marker,ANYTHING. Damn it if they were not all in packages!! My efforts failing and Nick shrieking louder and louder, I did the only thing I could do; I got the heck out of there and quickly went into one of the aisles! With our school shopping accomplished,(plus some extra stuff),we made our way to the checkout where Michael screamed "I GOTTA go PEE!!" Mike agreed to take both boys to the restroom, and you can guess where this is going! Mike came out and his first words were "Did you hear that??" I said "No, hear what??" "Nick screaming the entire time we were in there!" We had both forgotten that Nick hates public restrooms--and he kindly reminded us. After our Target fiasco, we went to the grocery store, and then to get my tire fixed on my car. It was a very productive day.

As I was saying earlier,Friday night was not our best. Nick stayed up until 1am. No matter how tired he was,he could not help himself but to turn lights off and on,and peel stickers. I am not kidding when I say I have woken up at 4am and found him doing this in their bedroom. Michael has moved to the couch on some nights because it wakes him up. As a last resort(short of drugging him with Tylenol),I taped the switch in their room down. Almost immediately he went to bed and fell asleep. It was like he could not ignore the urge to flick the switch or peel any sticker that remains in their room. We had a better night last night. He only stayed up until 10pm-and that was with NO nap. We will see how it goes today. Michael starts soccer tomorrow. We found out his practices will be on Mondays and Wed. from 5pm-6:15. I am glad that it is not on Tues. and Thurs. because he has swimming on those days. Life is about to get even more insane around here! Stay tuned!

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