Besides from the challenges you face with due to autism, you may have noticed that there are also some other aspects that you can list as strengths or skills of your child. You must know that your child is a unique being. Even the autism case he or she has is unique. While looking for answers after the diagnosis, upon coming across with a blog post perhaps, you may wonder that your child does or does not have the said abilities or challenges. Your child may not be clumsy, although it is a very common challenge. Furthermore, he/she may not be very good at math despite the fact that it is a common ability among individuals with autism. Determining what your child with autism is good at may come in handy in terms of providing him/her with the sense of achievement. You can blend these abilities into their everyday activities. They will get the joy and satisfaction while learning more. The more they practice their skills or build upon their strengths, the happier and more successful they will become in their upcoming life.
These strengths may be the points they will determine what they will be taking up as a job in the future. Determining the abilities and working on the challenges can greatly improve both your and your child’s life in general. Here is a general list of assets and challenges that you can take a look at to get an idea on what to look for in terms of determining your child’s strengths and challenges.
Strengths of Autism
- Strong long-term memory skills
- Direct communication
- Math, computer, musical, artistic skills
- Thinking in a visual way
- Hyperlexia, which is decoding written language at an early age; some children with autism can decode written language before they can comprehend it
- Detail oriented
- Average to above average intelligence
- Independent thinking, which is being less concerned about what others may think of them
- Non-judgmental listening
- Extensive knowledge resulting from deep study in favorite topics
- Understanding rules and sequences
- Logical thinking that is helpful in decision-making process
- Intensive focus when working on a favorite activity
(Note: Some of strengths can be seen among children with high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome.)
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Challenges of Autism
- Hard time motivating
- Difficulty of focusing on something other than interest
- Following unwritten social rules; these rules can be learned through instructions
- Getting the big picture
- Unbalanced set of skills
- Difficulty with generalization concepts
- Having trouble expressing feelings in a way that other people would understand or expect
- Trouble with functioning, hence difficulties in planning long-term activities
- Perceiving emotions of other people
- Having trouble with summarizing information to include in speech
Sources: Adapted from Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson and James McPartland’s A Parent’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism post at Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit and from Stephen Shore’s own list featured at Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit