A substantial change is occurring in the autism community, whereby we are moving away from the deficit model (can’t make eye contact, can’t start a conversation, can’t get organized) to a success model (creative thinker, unusual problem solving skills). Behold Rethinking Autism: From Social Awkwardness to Social Creativity.
This well written article in the Behavioral Scientist highlights some facets of the experience for those living on the spectrum, ideas that those of us working with clients or raising a child on the spectrum “always knew” and now science is catching up! For example, we once thought that folks on the spectrum didn’t want friends (wrong!), didn’t really get feelings (incorrect!), lacked empathy (au contraire!), and lacked creativity (oh, please!). Without revealing the gems in the article, strengths based programming is here to stay, and can be fun! (Drama class…need I say more?)
If you are a strengths minded individual, you will want to read this article. Similarly, you might want to check out differentbrains.org. Finally, this article was forwarded to me by my colleague and friend, Mallory Griffith. Mallory frequently offers strength based programming, including a high school group, an adult group, and cooking classes. Looking around the office, I see that Mallory has a white board with the question “Friends: how many do you need?” as the topic. (Also, that was the topic in time magazine: Should I make new friends as I get older? AND How many friends do I need?)
In sum, be positive, be creative, and celebrate the strengths found in the world of Autism.