Because April is Autism Awareness Month, it’s an ideal time to build awareness and acceptance about autism. It’s also an opportunity to consider what those of us who don’t have autism might be able to learn from those who do.
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to spend time with many people on the autism spectrum, both in my personal life and through my work. I’ve learned so much through these relationships and I’ve come to appreciate many of the characteristics I see in people with autism: honesty, acceptance of others, strong focus, ability to absorb and recall facts, awareness of one’s own preferences, lack of judgement, appreciation of the present moment, resiliency, and compassion.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from people with autism and tried to incorporate into my own life:
Be authentic and honest. Whenever possible, don’t hide your true intentions or feelings.
Don’t focus on others’ opinions of you or worry about what people think about you.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Focus on your passions. Intense focus and concentration on a particular subject is likely to lead to success in that area.
Be accepting of others’ differences and don’t judge them. The ability to overlook someone’s mistakes and shortcomings often makes you a good friend, not to mention a kind person!
Live in the moment. Enjoy the things around you with all of your senses.
Be yourself and know what you like and don’t like. This will make you decisive and less prone to peer pressure.
Having challenges can be a blessing and can build resiliency and compassion for others.
Broadening our view of autism to include its many positive aspects is both educational and enriching. The strengths and resilience of people with autism can inform our lives and inspire changes in our outlook and behavior.
If you are interested in discovering simple ways to reinforce social and emotional learning at home, check out my book, “Make Social Learning Stick!“.