People with Asperger profiles present with a complex and at times perplexing combination of strengths and challenges.
Asperger brains process some kinds of information better than the brains of neurotypical people.
- Dr. Hans Asperger (1906-1980) said: “It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential.”
- Dr. Temple Grandin says, “Without people with autism, humans would still be living in caves.”
An Asperger profile can affect people for their whole lives, but many can use their strengths to compensate for or work around some of their challenges—and even to thrive and make outstanding contributions to society. At AANE, we have seen countless people with Asperger and autism diagnoses who, given the proper supports, have used their unique traits to their advantage to accomplish feats beyond what the “typical” mind could muster.
Below is a chart of strengths a person with an Asperger profile might have, followed by bullet points describing each area. Keep in mind, however, that people with Asperger profiles are not all alike, and that they are likely to differ from one another even more in respect to their areas of strength than in their areas of challenge.
Intelligence, Special Interest, Memory
- Average to very high intelligence.
- Good verbal skills; rich vocabulary.
- Ability to absorb and retain large amounts of information, especially about topics of special interest.
- Ability to think in visual images.
- Be self-motivated, independent learners.
- Propensity to think outside the box and generate novel solutions to problems.
- Some people may show a strong aptitude for a particular field of study or topic.
- Ability (in some cases a preference) for spending time alone.
- Take an interest in arcane or off-beat fields of knowledge.
- Concentrate for long periods of time on reading, experimenting, writing,
- Avoid wasting time in some activities that appeal to neurotypical people.
- Some special interests can be channeled into productive hobbies or even careers, where the person may be creative or make new discoveries.
- Ability to notice small details of an idea, theory, number pattern, book, film, object or visual image.
- Ability to perform repetitive tasks where accuracy, rules and routine are important.
- Strong work ethic; commitment to quality and accuracy of work.
- Play with language and create puns.
- Enjoy sarcasm and satire.
- Relish life’s absurd, dark, or incongruous side.
- See through empty rhetoric or conventional pieties.
- Ability and tendency to tell the truth—even if it’s not tactful or in one’s self-interest.
- Desire and tendency to follow rules.
Desire to Connect
- Expend effort and energy to learn social skills that do not come naturally.
- Persevere in the face of rejection, confusion or frustration.
- Believe the best of everyone (sometimes naively).
- Accept quirkiness or imperfection in others, and become a loyal friend.
Fair and Just
- Tendency to be unconventional, open-minded, and tolerant.
- Intensely responsive when made aware of injustice.
- Advocate for the underdog, victims of bullying or member of an oppressed group.
- Propensity to express caring in non-traditional ways.
- Tendency to relate to and defend animals.
Do you have a lot of questions or concerns about a child, teen, or adult with an Asperger profile? Schedule a Parent Coaching session.