Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is splashed all over the internet with its list of negative “symptoms” that define it. I don’t see autism as a disorder. I see it as a different neurotype that has wonderful impacts on how I sense, feel, and think in the world. In this series on “The Joys of Being Autistic,” I am pulling all of the good into one place. In my first essay, I explored Enhanced Senses. Today I’m diving into increased creativity and innovation.
Increased Creativity and Innovation
I conceptualize autism from a neurodiverse perspective, which means autism is characterized as a brain that fires more frequently, rapidly, and in conjunction with other neural pathways than neurotypical brains. The result is a brain that takes in more information and then processes that information rapidly and in conjunction with multiple other pathways. One thought in an autistic mind can lead to an explosion of thoughts - which I call constellation thinking.
Constellation thinking often leads to an explosion of ideas, including new ways to try things. This increased creativity fuels every aspect of my life, from the art I make to the conversations I have with clients to this essay that I am writing now.
Due to the conjunctive firing pathways in an autistic mind, multiple seemingly unrelated topics can be pulled together at once. This often leads to innovative ideas in how to accomplish something in new, unique ways. I know many autistic individuals who are deeply valued at their companies because of their innovative abilities. I also love the bursts of innovation that come as I think about how to best help my clients or approach various psychology topics.
It’s also important to acknowledge that positive autistic characteristics are not based on the value we bring to others. Yes, our autistic minds can make us better employees, leaders, and the like. However, our worth is not defined by our productivity and what we bring to the world.
An autistic characteristic can be positive simply because we experience it as positive. For example, when I am making my paintings that will never be seen or journaling away about my random thoughts, those are still positive things. They will never impact anyone but me, AND I find them deeply fun. It’s hard to capture the joy that comes with a new idea or the satisfaction of completing an art piece.
Widening the Conversation
I’d like to note that not all autistics will experience the positive aspects listed in my series, just like how not all autistics will experience the negative aspects listed about autism. We are all unique, and I am simply widening the conversation on autism.
In my upcoming essays in my The Joys of Autism Series, I’ll continue exploring all of positive aspects of being autistic. Some of the things I plan to touch on:
Enhanced Awareness of Self and Others
Increased Problem Solving
Increased Connection to Intuition
Relationships with Depth
See the World Differently
If you have any more ideas that I should add to the list, please let me know! If you have written your own essays on the positive aspects of being autistic, please drop a link in the comments and I’ll link to it in future essays.
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