We asked this simple question on our Facebook Page, and thought we just had to share some of your amazing responses!

Here are a few of our favorites:

“My son is so fascinated with building and making things. I love his creations.” 

– Misty W.

Many individuals with autism have strong spatial relations skills, mechanical abilities, and technological prowess too. Often, autism parents note that they rely on their sons and daughters on the spectrum to fix the family computer, phone, or remote control when it goes on the fritz. In fact, tech-based companies (such as Canada’s Meticulon) employ adults with ASDs as software testers and data experts. In this field, an above-average ability to pay attention to detail and repeat tasks is a competitive advantage!

“My daughter is so loving and gentle to the people she trusts, and she is so sweet when she sees a baby.” 

– Heather B.

While stereotypes cast people on the spectrum as aloof, families know that their loved ones with ASD often express their emotions in touching, spontaneous ways. And the self-protective behaviors exhibited by individuals with ASDs may evince more empathy, not less. As Maia Szalavitz writes in her Medium.com piece, “The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism”“When someone else’s pain becomes too unbearable to witness, even typical people withdraw and try to soothe themselves first rather than helping—exactly like autistic people. It’s just that autistic people become distressed more easily, and so their reactions appear atypical.”

“My daughter amazes me with her contentment with being eccentric & unique. She embraces it. I was too scared of being different when I was growing up. I tried to fit in & be the same as other girls. She doesn’t care, she just is who she is. I truly wish I were more like her!” 

– Amanda P.

Siblings of individuals on the spectrum often gain a tremendous appreciation for diversity by watching their brothers and sisters. Their siblings give them courage to walk off the beaten path of ‘normal’ and pursue what really matters. As sibling Faith Jegede says in her poignant TED talk, What I’ve Learned from my Autistic Brothers: “Normality overlooks the beauty that differences give us, and the fact that [my brothers and I] are different doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong. It just means that there’s a different kind of right.

Here’s what some our team had to say: 

“The most beautiful trait in children with autism is their readiness to learn.  These kids are always ready for our command. Also, each child is so smart. Once we understand how to communicate with them, they end up teaching us.  They teach us love, patience and compassion”

– Romina Kiryakous

“I never cease to be excited when I see the jumps in acquisition. As program takes hold, many of our kiddos accelerate their learning on this skill or that, at a faster rate than children who do not carry the diagnosis, sometimes jumping 2-3 developmental months in just one month’s time. It’s great to have to keep up with a child who is in this learning pattern! And when a child makes eye contact with me and uses appropriate communication for the first time, it always brings tears to my eyes.”

-Amalie D. Holly

“Sometimes I wish that my younger brother Willie and I could have extended conversations instead of short ones, but I’ve come to see that there’s a beauty in our wordless time, too.

We’re both introverted, and I love that we can just walk or sit side by side without needing to fill up silences. That’s not something you can do with everyone! Willie is good at giving people space to just be who they are.

When I first heard the Rilke quote, ‘Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other,’ I thought of Willie.”

-Caroline G. McGraw

“I’d say that the most beautiful thing I see in people with autism is their genuine nature. They don’t really hide themselves or their interests and are very genuine in that respect. You won’t meet many autistic people who are back-stabbers, two-faced liars, or malignant gossipers. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and that’s a trait that I really wish was present in the rest of us.”

-John Holly


Unique Autism Traits

Autism manifests differently in each person, bringing with it a specific set of gifts and challenges. And we’re only just beginning to understand the neurological basis for these unique traits.

As we noted in our post, What we can learn about autism and emotional regulation from Temple Grandin:

“Individuals with autism have measurably divergent brain size and neurological responses … From enlarged temporal lobes to section-specific hyperactivity, those on the spectrum have minds that work just a little bit differently. These brain-based differences help to explain why people on the spectrum have unique abilities.”

And those unique abilities are what we’re celebrating here today.