The Positive Traits of Autism – Part 12 – Experiencing the World Differently

It is obvious that people with autism experience the world differently from people without autism, due to sensory issues for example.  This can apply to every aspect of their life, and there is a lot of talk about the negative impact of experiencing things differently from others.  But when asked, many people with autism felt that experiencing the world differently doesn’t have to be a negative thing.  In fact, it can be the opposite.

Lots of people with autism believe that they get more out of life.  They notice more details in the world around them, and see colours more brightly for example.  And while sometimes this can be a problem, it allows them to get maximum enjoyment out of situations.  In a way experiencing the world differently is a combination of all of the positive traits in this series of articles.  Some people believe that they experience nature and interactions with animals in a deeper and more meaningful way than others.  Some believe that their special interests allow them to get more enjoyment, and fulfillment out of their passions than they otherwise would.

To simply cover how the world is experienced differently is too big a subject.  Everybody has their own specific experiences that they feel are positive.  One of the things that seems to be common though, when autistic people talk about their experience of the world, is the notion that autism allows people to see a more positive, and uplifting side of life.  This might seem contradictory when you think about outbursts, social awkwardness, bullying and all the other negative aspects of autism, but it is something that is said time, and time again by autistic people.

Everybody experiences the world differently from those around them, and this article isn’t meant to imply that autistic people are tuned-in to things that nobody else is, and that somehow, because they are autistic they have better lives than everybody else.  It is not about experiencing the world in a better way, it is about experiencing it differently.  And in one way this could be a positive trait not just for the autistic person, but for those around them; if autistic people can communicate how they experience the world it helps others to gain a better perspective, to see things from somebody else`s viewpoint.  At some point in everybody`s life they have to be able to see things from somebody else`s point of view.  If everybody experienced the world in the same way, felt and thought in the same way, then what would be the point?  Even if not all autistic people are able to express how they experience the world, it is still important for others who can express, and explain their experiences of life to do so.

Experiencing the world differently might seem like a vague, sweeping statement, and it actually is.  There are simply too many different ways that autistic people experience things differently from neuro-typicals to fit in to one five hundred and something word article.  In a way, experiencing the world differently is another way of saying that it is good to embrace difference.  People shouldn’t be clones of one another, either physically or mentally.  And autistic people shouldn’t feel that because they experience life differently they necessarily miss out, or suffer.  It would be naïve and silly to say that there are no negatives to autism, but autistic people themselves are the first to step forward, and point out the equally long list of positives.

  • Gonzalo says:

    Diversity is where the beauty of life lies indeed. But with a more practical approach, seeing things differently can even be a great thing to get a job. I’ve been always independent worker (as an artist and author) but the only job interview that I went through, I got selected (for a higher position than the one they were searching for) exactly because I saw the work in a different perspective, focus and commitment. And job interviews seems to be one of the biggest issues for an autistic adult, maybe because of that as well: some people are afraid of diversity.

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