Countless historic and contemporary innovators have been or likely would have been diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions. Many successful people with these conditions believe it gives them unique advantages to problem solve they can use to overcome challenges. Current research and the writings of autism authors confirm those advantages. Autism Advantage is an innovative practice devoted to working with adolescents and adults with these conditions to understand their unique personality styles and use their gifts to overcome social challenges and associated anxiety and depression.
Everyone is a unique blend of personality factors, thought patterns, and behaviors that individuates them as a person. People with autism spectrum conditions generally share some challenges relating to social functioning that can be obvious to others and limiting at school and in the workplace.
What others don't always see are the positive characteristics people with these diagnoses often have that give them an advantage in their environment. These advantages have been identified in published research, the writings of specialists, and anecdotally through reports of those with these diagnoses.
Current published research has identified many advantages those diagnosed with autism typically show including that approximately 1/3 of those with these diagnoses have "savant like" skills in one or more areas. Overall people with autism possess a greater ability to process information. Advantages are shown in visual search abilities including divided attention tasks, reaction time, scanning efficiency, discrimination between targets and distractors, perception of visual features, and increased accuracy. Visual grouping is also enhanced such as being more sensitive to symmetry along all axes and better ability to extract irregularities from noisy environments. Mental representation advantages are shown including better accuracy in the formation of mental images, better speed and accuracy of mental rotation, and better access and manipulation of mental models.
Autism authors including Tony Attwood, Simon Baron-Cohen, and others have extended this list to include advantages in many other areas such as the better understanding of physical systems, increased scores on tests of intuitive physics, higher detail orientation, better at identifying technical errors, earlier preparation for faster learning about the environment, increased frequency of and interest in smelling, more acute hearing, increased desire to seek perfection, higher valuation of creativity, honesty and sense of social justice, advanced vocabularies, more original solutions, relative freedom from sexism or racism, dependability and ability to follow rules, intense interest in certain topics, a better rote memory, increased pitch perception, better ability to solve puzzles faster, less aptitude to false memories, stronger abilities to memorize, and a high degree of scientific objectivity.
Those with autism spectrum conditions note other advantages including increased focus, global insights to problems, independent thinking, internal motivation, logical decision making, creativity, and concentration.