Top 10 Positive Traits of Autistic People

What are the best aspects of autism?

Autism is a serious disorder that can interfere with every aspect of life. So why is it that so many people see autism in a positive light?

Yes, many things are challenging for people on the spectrum and the people who love them, but for every downside to autism, there seems to be an upside too. People with autism have uniquely positive traits that are rare or even nonexistent among neurotypical individuals. It's important to note that these positive traits are not unique to savants with special talents or skills; rather, they are present in almost every person with autism. 

If you're tired of hearing about the problems associated with autism, try pinning this list up on your fridge or sharing it with friends, family, and school staff. It's a great way to help others recognize that not every aspect of autism is a "symptom!"

1
Autistic People Rarely Lie

Little boy shouting with colorful sound waves
Brand New Images/Getty Images

We all claim to value the truth, but almost all of us tell little white lies. More significantly, many neurotypical people actively hide important truths from the people around them. People on the autism spectrum, however, tell the truth—whether it's positive or negative. That means a person with autism will accurately reflect their feelings and respond with complete candor when asked their opinion. If a person with autism says you look terrific you can be pretty sure you're having a good hair day!

2
People on the Autism Spectrum Live in the Moment

Child jumping in field
Donald Iain Smith/Moment/Getty Images

How often do typical people fail to notice what's in front of their eyes because they're distracted by social cues or random chitchat? People on the autism spectrum truly attend to the sensory input that surrounds them. Some see the beauty that others miss, though they pass by it every day. Many have achieved the ideal of mindfulness, even if they don't have the tools to communicate their state of mind to others.

3
People With Autism Rarely Judge Others

Who's fatter? Richer? Smarter? Prettier? Does that person have a degree from the right college or belong to the right church? For people on the autism spectrum, these distinctions hold much less importance than for their neurotypical peers. In fact, people on the spectrum often see through such surface appearances to discover the real person.

Just as importantly, people with autism rarely judge other people with disabilities. Where a typical peer might steer clear of a classmate with Down syndrome or a physical disability, people with autism are more likely to be accepting of differences.

4
Autistic People Are Passionate

Many people on the spectrum are truly passionate about the things, ideas, and people in their lives. They spend the time, energy, and imagination necessary to truly master their area of interest, and they stick with it even when it's difficult, frustrating, or "uncool." How many "typical" people can say the same?

5
People With Autism Are Not Tied to Social Expectations

If you've ever bought a car, played a game, or joined a club to fit in, you know how hard it can be to be true to yourself. But for people with autism, social expectations can be honestly unimportant. Who cares if someone you've never met rolls his eyes when you mention your interest in Disney movies even when you're a grown man? What matters is true liking, shared interests, kindness, and the desire to spend time together—not keeping up with or being as similar as possible to the Joneses.

6
People With Autism Have Terrific Memories

How often do typical people forget directions, or fail to take note of colors, names, and other details? People on the autism spectrum are often much more tuned in to details. In many cases, they have a much better memory than their typical peers for all kind of critical details. In fact, a surprisingly large number of people on the spectrum have photographic memories, perfect pitch, and/or an almost perfect memory for songs, poems, and stories. This skill can be a huge asset in situations ranging from direction-finding to writing a family history.

7
Autistic People Are Less Materialistic

Of course, this is not universally true—but in general, people with autism are far less concerned with prestige and status than their neurotypical peers. As a result, they worry less about brand names, high-end restaurants, and other expensive but unimportant externals than most people do. They are also less inclined to see salary or title as desirable for their own sake.

8
Autistic People Play Fewer Head Games

"Do I look fat in this outfit? Tell me the truth—I won't get mad!" 

"I know I TOLD you I didn't mind if you went out, but why did you believe me?"

Few autistic people play games like these—and they assume that you won't either. It's a refreshing and wonderful change from the Peyton Place emotional roller coaster that mars too many typical relationships! Of course, part of the reason for this lack of subterfuge is the reality that autistic people find head games baffling. Why would someone ask a question if they don't want an answer? 

9
Autistic People Have Fewer Hidden Agendas

Most of the time, if a person on the autism spectrum tells you what he wants he is telling you what he wants. No need to beat around the bush, second guess, and hope you're reading between the lines! This may be due, in part, to the fact that many autistic people are unaware of or baffled by others' choice to hide their real intentions.

10
People With Autism Open New Doors for Neurotypicals

For some of us neurotypicals, having an autistic person in our lives has had a profound positive impact on our perceptions, beliefs, and expectations. Being the parent or sibling of a son on the autism spectrum can release you from a lifetime of "should"—and offer you a new world of "is."

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