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How To Tell Your Partner That They May Have An Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comprehensive List of Strengths & Challenges

To the NTs: Pick the “strengths” that apply to your ASD partner, then use the suggestion in the video above to broach the topic of ASD. Also, pick which “challenges” listed below that apply as well.

Possible strengths of ASD:

•    Tendency to relate to and defend animals.
•    Tendency to be unconventional, open-minded, and tolerant.
•    Take an interest in arcane or off-beat fields of knowledge.
•    Strong work ethic; commitment to quality and accuracy of work.
•    Some special interests can be channeled into productive hobbies or even careers, where the person may be creative or make new discoveries.

•    Avoid wasting time in some activities that appeal to neurotypical people.
•    Average to very high intelligence.
•    Advocate for the underdog, victims of bullying or member of an oppressed group.
•    Accept quirkiness or imperfection in others, and become a loyal friend.
•    Ability to think in visual images.

•    Ability to perform repetitive tasks where accuracy, rules  and routine are important.
•    Some people may show a strong aptitude for a particular field of study or topic.
•    See through empty rhetoric or conventional pieties.
•    Relish life’s absurd, dark, or incongruous side.
•    Propensity to think outside the box and generate novel solutions to problems.

•    Propensity to express caring in non-traditional ways.
•    Play with language and create puns.
•    Persevere in the face of rejection, confusion or frustration.
•    Intensely responsive when made aware of injustice.
•    Good verbal skills; rich vocabulary.

•    Expend effort and energy to learn social skills that do not come naturally.
•    Enjoy sarcasm and satire.
•    Desire and tendency to follow rules.
•    Concentrate for long periods of time on reading, experimenting, writing,
•    Believe the best of everyone (sometimes naively).

•    Be self-motivated, independent learners.
•    Ability to notice small details of an idea, theory, number pattern, book, film, object or visual image.
•    Ability to absorb and retain large amounts of information, especially about topics of special interest.
•    Ability and tendency to tell the truth—even if it’s not tactful or in one’s self-interest.
•    Ability (in some cases a preference) for spending time alone.


Possible challenges of ASD:

•    Written expression.
•    Vulnerability to stress, sometimes escalating to psychological or emotional problems including low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
•    Using humor and sarcasm appropriately; understanding other people’s use of sarcasm and humor.
•    Understanding/accepting one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
•    Understanding the unwritten or implied social rules.

•    Understanding gradations of emotion; matching emotional response to people, activities and settings.
•    Understanding complex or abstract concepts.
•    Time management
•    Switching attention from one thing to another.
•    Sustaining attention to relevant information.

•    Seeing more than one way to accomplish a task/solve a problem.
•    Seeing “the forest for the trees.” Seeing the big picture due to a tendency to focus on the details of a given situation.
•    Recognizing what emotions feel like and look like in self and others.
•    Recognizing and understanding other people’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions due to a tendency to ignore or misinterpret such cues as facial expression, body language  and vocal intonation.
•    Recognizing and protecting oneself from bullies.

•    Recognizing and categorizing information.
•    Feeling somehow different and disconnected from the rest of the world and not “fitting in” — sometimes called “Wrong Planet” Syndrome.
•    Fatigue due to sensory stimulation in certain environments.
•    Fatigue due to conscious mental processing of information that others might process intuitively.
•    Exhaustion due to easily-triggered nervous system (active “Fight or Flight” response).

•    Difficulties with sleep patterns.
•    Developing strategies to offset weaknesses and build on strengths.
•    Coping with changes in familiar routines.
•    Controlling flight or fight response when anxious.
•    Change may trigger anxiety, while familiar objects, settings, and routines offer reassurance. One result is difficulty transitioning from one activity to another: from one class to another, from work-time to lunch or from talking to listening.

•    Realizing there are exceptions to rules; tolerating when other people bend rules.
•    Processing social information quickly and efficiently.
•    Prioritizing, initiating, and completing tasks.
•    Perceiving and expressing one’s own feelings.
•    Organizing thoughts and materials.

•    Noticing and correctly interpreting other people’s nonverbal communication (gestures, body position, facial expression and tone of voice).
•    Motor planning (using the body to accomplish a task).
•    Modulating one’s own nonverbal communication.
•    Knowing where one’s body is in space; avoiding bumping into people or objects.
•    Knowing when one needs help; asking for help.
•    Knowing what to do or say in various social situations.

•    Intense, narrow, time-consuming personal interest(s) — sometimes eccentric in nature — that may result in social isolation, or interfere with the completion of everyday tasks.
•    Integrating multiple sensations and responding appropriately.
•    Initiating, joining, and maintaining conversation.
•    Generating novel or alternative solutions.

•    Generalizing skills from one setting to another.
•    Filtering out extraneous stimuli.
•    Being tactful; being able to tell “white lies.”
•    Aversion to or craving for certain types/intensities of sensory input. Extreme sensitivity — or relative insensitivity — to sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or textures. Many people outgrow these sensory issues at least to some extent as they mature.

•    Auditory, visual, or intellectual processing, which can contribute to difficulties keeping up in a range of social settings.
•    Appearing awkward or rude, and unintentionally upset others.
•    Analyzing relevant vs. irrelevant information.
•    Accepting feedback, advice, suggestions or help from others.
•    Abstracting the main idea from text or conversation.

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> Videos to help you understand your partner on the autism spectrum... 

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