The following post was written by advocate Jessica Jahns. It was originally posted on the Autisticoronapoliticalifragilisticexpialidocious blog and is re-posted here with her permission. Stay tuned for an interview with Jahns later this month!
I will just add the standard preface to this post: not ALL autistic people have these traits, but they do seem to be quite common in my experience, so take this as you will.
1: We are honest. You will NEVER have to wonder where you stand in a relationship with an autistic person. If you don’t know, ASK and you will be told.
2: We are trustworthy. If you need someone to hold on to some important information or your spare house key, give it to an #ActuallyAutistic person.
3: We have extremely deep knowledge and are generally happy to share it. We tend to take it upon ourselves to be learning constantly when we are empowered to do so, always taking in new information and testing our own hypotheses, so we tend to have the most current information on the topics of our interest.
4: Based on #1 and #3, we are humble when we DON’T know something and will be disinclined to bullshit our way through a conversation to which we feel we have nothing to offer. We will probably just walk away.
5: We have unique perspectives on almost everything we have had the opportunity to think about. We may be challenging, but if you choose to engage and hear what we say, we will make you think about things differently than you had before.
6: We are unlikely to be known as a “squeaky wheel.” As with #4, we would rather just leave the situation than make strife for others. We are the opposite of self-centered.
7: We can organize and process large amounts of information at a time. The caveat here is that this strength is dependent on our specific individual needs for environmental and emotional conditions to be met first.
8: We are quite creative and can solve problems in ways that others haven’t necessarily considered before. This is also conditional on environment, etc.
9: We wear our hearts on our sleeves and, again, external conditions permitting, are capable of making deep connections with others very quickly. When others take advantage of this fact due to ignorance or with purpose, we can be traumatized to the point of complete emotional shutdown.
10: We are open and accepting of all who come in good faith and we tend to be slow to judge others. We are genuinely curious about others and if we APPEAR closed off or belligerent, there is generally an environmental cause that can be remedied.
11: We are inherently inclined to create habits. Because we tend to appreciate routines, with the right conditions and support system, we are able to build sets of good habits and understand how positive feedback loops work to maintain them.
12: We are objective, particularly in problem-solving. We can accurately assess our own contribution to a situation and generally are aware how we fit into a relationship, workplace or system. Our perspective is not generally clouded by our own ego; if anything, we can underestimate our own abilities to affect positive change.