For a variety of reasons, frequently adults with autistic traits, with their obsessional interests and attention to detail, spare no qualms about going into great detail in order to display their profound knowledge of certain subjects. For many neurotypical individuals, this may seem obsessive and erratic and come across as annoying (think the character Sheldon Cooper of the TV series “The Big Bang Theory” who displays all the typical Asperger’s Syndrome symptoms). Yet it is to everybody’s detriment that the adult with autistic traits gets the relevant support as this could be beneficial to everybody involved and create a win-win situation.
Some autistic adults may be World War 2 experts in which case they may make ideal museum curator candidates, while others might be train-timetable experts which would render them as valuable railway employees, amongst other things. The average IQ in adults on the autism spectrum is frequently higher than in neurotypical adults. Not only do they take an interest in certain subject matter but they pay attention to detail to the finer elements often overlooked by everybody else and in turn become human encyclopedias regarding their selected interest. This should be encouraged and nurtured. It can become a very rewarding experience.
Yet tragically an estimated 60% or more of adults on the autism spectrum are unemployed or placed in highly inappropriate positions leaving them to be unproductive and depressed as they see little or no value in themselves and this affects their self-esteem. Often people with an autistic diagnosis are just labelled as weird and different, thus are highly misunderstood. Having said that, this is not always the case. Prominent and successful individuals like Microsoft Founder Bill Gates are said to be on the adult autism spectrum and have made a fortune from their innovative excellence in groundbreaking high tech personal hobbies. Another example is Marshall Mathers the rapper commonly known as Eminem or Slim Shady who is said to be on the autism spectrum, possibly an explanation for his lack of tact, propriety or boundaries when it comes to being creative in the rap world. Yet nonetheless, he was an instant overnight success and is a multi-award winner and still a popular musician amongst youth of all different backgrounds and walks of life. Notably, he even raps about having Asperger’s in one song titled Wicked Ways which goes into depths of his own personal feelings on being an adult male with autism and the challenges he faced or continues to face.
It has frequently been suggested that Albert Einstein, the Nobel Prize award-winning scientist who discovered the theory of relativity and atomic energy was an autistic adult, due to certain adult autism traits that he displayed. Another theory which hasn’t been definitively proven as of yet was that Vincent Van Gogh, the 19th-century Dutch artist, was on the spectrum. He created so many paintings with such special attention to detail so vividly. Tragically not a single painting was sold while he was still alive. Like Vincent Van Gogh, many adults diagnosed with autism have a very special hidden or encrypted gift. Perhaps it is in art, writing or music. Nevertheless, they all have something great and positive to contribute to society. The world at large is kicking a proverbial gift horse in the mouth by refusing to acknowledge the gifts and strengths of so many adults on the autism spectrum.
On a more positive note, some companies such as SAP and Microsoft have specifically tailor-made programs for employing adults on the autism spectrum within the high tech field where they prove to be invaluable programmers and excellent coders. Even certain militaries like the Israel Defense Force has a unit consisting exclusively of adults on the autism spectrum, due to their profoundly unique ability to observe detail and irregularities in real-time satellite footage. Often saving lives and preventing potential conflicts. Autism in adults is a gift which should, by any means possible, be used to benefit both the autistic individual and the establishment. Mutual rewards would be astonishing in the long run.
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