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Adults with ASD [Level 1]: The Strong Points

Too often, the microscope is focused on all that is wrong with adults who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD]. Yet, these grown-ups actually have much to contribute to families, friendships, and the workplace than the general population recognizes.

It’s quite true that there are thousands of strengths associated with ASD. Any attempt at a list is going to stereotype these individuals, but here are four strengths that come to mind:

1. It’s a cliché by now to say that some adults with ASD [High-Functioning Autism] have higher than average intelligence, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Some Aspies are downright smarter than just about everyone else out there, and some are quite aware of it and aren’t afraid of telling others about their level of expertise in a particular field or subject.

2. Many ASD adults have a wonderful sense of humor that demonstrates a truly unique way of viewing the world. Whether it’s the humor found in someone making the same mistake over and over, or the hilarity found in seemingly irrelevant details of social situations (e.g., how loud someone is breathing while at the dinner table), neurotypicals can learn a lot about how to appreciate details in life that they never would have noticed without learning from their friend on the spectrum.

3. Another strength is the fact that the individual with autism is going to tell the truth about something, whether you like it or not! Perhaps he has something figured out that you don’t – and he isn’t afraid to tell you. Perhaps the answer to a problem is obvious to him, and it’s annoying how slow the neurotypicals are to figure it out -- and he isn’t going to hide that annoyance.

Maybe it’s a case of just being brutally honest with you when your new haircut looks ridiculous. But the honesty that the PERSON ON THE SPECTRUM possesses is refreshing. In this pretend world of political correctness, contrived so-called “reality television,” and unrestrained commercialism that we all live with on a daily basis, it’s really cool to have someone just tell it like it is every now and then.

4. Many people with ASD have an absolutely uncanny ability to focus. Sometimes this manifests in inconvenient ways (e.g., a youngster focusing only on the irrelevant details of a learning situation, and therefore having difficulty with learning the bigger picture). But just as often, this manifests in an ability to solve problems that would stump the neurotypical.

For example, one Aspergers employee helped engineer the dependent relations between hundreds of different components of a software system. The problem was that, not only did it require a huge amount of focus, but a huge amount of focus over a long period of time, because every detail that was changed in the system caused hundreds of other small changes in the ways all the other components of the system depended on one another. This "Aspie" accomplished in a few days what the company expected to take several months.

Without question, the autistic brain operates differently. Most people with ASD are better at detecting changing sounds, detecting visual structures, and manipulating 3D shapes. Too often, employers don’t realize what employees on the spectrum are capable of, and assign them repetitive, almost menial tasks. But most are willing - and capable - of making sophisticated contributions to society, if they have the right environment.
Hear it from a child: 


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•    Anonymous said… This is why Aspies can accomplish so much!
•    Anonymous said… I think we accomplish so much because we have focus also when I get a problem to solve my brain continues to work on it while I am doing other things. So I can be doing something which would, ordinarily would not be related to the problem I am working on but I get one of those eureka moments. I think in 3D and can construct things in my head and then build it. I often change things as I go but i have a head start simply because of how I think.
•    Anonymous said… Story of my life, people just don't realise what I am capable of.

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Job Hunting Tips for Adults with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

When you were little, people probably asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Maybe you said a firefighter, or an astronaut. Maybe you said an actor, or a lawyer, or a doctor. With starry eyes, you dreamed of the day you would live in a rich mansion, with maids and butlers. Then, a career seemed like something that would happen a lifetime away. But, now it’s time to choose.

Your interests have probably changed. Finding the right career for you can be difficult, but not impossible. Currently, many Aspies are looking for full-time jobs, but their gifts are not recognized. Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of Aspies. Most have very poor short-term working memory, but have a better long-term memory than neurotypicals.

Here are some job hunting tips:

1. Before you start applying for jobs ensure you know what you're looking for. A good job search is a focused job search. Make sure to tailor you Resume or CV according to job position that you are applying for.

2. Don't apply for job you aren't qualified for. One of the worst things is lying on your Resume. You might ruin your chances with a company for a job you are qualified for in the future.

3. Find a company that you are interested in working for. Look at their job listings and see what interests you. For example, if you like FaceBook, then you could look at their job listings and see what they offer. This will help a lot!

4. If you have an idea of what you want to do, read up on it! Head for the library, or surf the web. Read as much as you can about your career choice. If you decide you chose wrong, analyze your skills again. Talk with a parent, friend, or professor about what they think.

5. Keep in touch with people who can positively influence your job search and career. In your future career pursuit, simple reference letter can be of crucial importance.

6. Know who you are, and not just your name:
  • Are you cheerful, bubbly, and a people-person?
  • Do you prefer working by yourself?
  • Do you love to get out a saw and wood and create projects?
  • What are your interests?
  • What skills do you possess?

Spend an hour in a private place, or get together with a friend. Talk about the things you love. Write them down, and analyze them when you're done. See if you can put together an idea.

7. Manage your references. Don't assume there isn't such a thing as a bad reference. There is. And it can cost you jobs.

8. Plan your career with a long term focus. Short term gain can cause long term pain.

9. Take command of your career. Don't rely on other people to get the job for you. Nobody knows you better than yourself, just do it.

10. Try to learn about why you don't get every job you apply for. Learn from your mistakes.

11. Utilize several different job search techniques and do each of them well. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

12. Be patient with the process - you can do it! I've got confidence in you!! Now get going!!!

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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