by Sonya Cox
Autistic Pride Day lands on 18 June every year. The main aim of this day is to celebrate the unique, diverse and infinite ways of thinking that are out there. Autistic people have many strengths and overcome many challenges on a day-to-day basis.
Autism is a hidden disability so it is easy for people to misunderstand, make assumptions and rely on myths.
Instead, what we’re trying to do is raise awareness, recognise people’s talents and celebrate their achievements.
We all should be able to be proud of who we are and of our accomplishments, and feel like a valued member of society.
The strengths of autism
So, with this in mind, I took it upon myself to reach out to a range of people and ask them what they felt the strengths of autism are. I talked to friends, colleagues and autistic people themselves. Here are some of the things they shared:
- The ability to light up a room without having to say a word
- Autistic people have great attention to detail. I can easily find items that others miss
- Great organisational skills, everything has its place
- I worked with an autistic person who could take one look at a room, then come back later and put everything back exactly where it was!
- Great memories, for example, some autistic people can remember everyone’s names after meeting them just once, I couldn’t do that!
- The ability to see the world differently through a different lens
- We have a very black and white way of thinking. It makes us get to the point and also means we are honest people
- The ability to be able to recite things after hearing it once
- It takes a lot of strength to be able to deal with everyday ‘normal’ life in a neurotypical school
- My son is surprisingly able to not get overly stressed over the little things that would bother other people
- I work in the education sector and have found that autistic people often excel within engineering and automotive areas. There is little or no ambiguity. The environment of engineering plays to autistic people’s strengths. They can memorise methodical processes to finite detail and under assessment conditions, demonstrating with step-by-step perfection.
- Problem solving for practical tasks seems to come naturally, with a desire to find the root cause
- In the right working environment and with the right support, autistic people can be very productive, consistent and reliable
- We work well in teams when the objective is shared. During the pandemic our technical industries had to move quickly and efficiently to help us be able to work at home. There are a number of neuro divergent people in this industry. Things got done, with no drama. We can be quiet, effective and awesome. We are amazing!
To finish I would like to share something one of our employees shared today, which shows the impact working together can have;
Telling my story adds value to your life, listening to it adds value to mine
Please join us in celebrating and recognising the strengths of autism every day. #autisticpride, every day.
Sonya Cox, MacIntyre Best Practice Facilitator