There is a debate as to whether autism is a condition, or simply another way of thinking. Whichever way people choose to view it, what nearly everybody agrees on is that people with autism tend to think very logically. This isn’t the case all of the time, but it is for the majority. A lot of people view logical thinking in a negative light, but often it can be incredibly beneficial.
Despite the fact that people with autism struggle to make decisions sometimes there are also other occasions where they can make the bigger, more difficult decisions much easier than a lot of other people. Often they will block out things such as emotions, and thinking about what they wish could happen, and simply make the choice. It also makes decision making a lot less reckless – somebody with autism might think `is there enough money to buy this?` if the answer is `no` then it can’t be bought, and that’s all there really is to it. A lot of neuro-typical people would follow this up with `but I want it` and then try to think of a way to get it, but most autistic people would simply say `well there isn’t the money` and that would be the end of it.
It might be argued that this kind of logical thinking is only present in people who have what is referred to as higher functioning* autism. This might be true, but it may also be the case that people who are often called – rather unfairly – lower functioning may also possess these skills, but simply not be able to show them off as much as their more verbal peers.
Logical thinking can also be turned on to problem-solving, and matters of business. Many people, when they are getting in to business, have to train themselves to think logically about things. For people with autism it is simply an in-built way of thinking. It is hard to give too many examples of how logical thinking can be used, as it can be put on to virtually everything a person can think about. It should never be suggested that autistic people won’t make decisions based on their emotions, but what they also have the ability to do is take the simple logic of a situation, and not complicate it by getting hung-up on everything else.
Some people view logical thinking as something that is negative, and this is why perhaps it tends to work against autistic people when they are looking for work; prospective employees can’t always see how positive a logical brain can be. It is also something that can be of great use to the autistic individual in their day to day life, and relationships.
It seems strange that something that can be so positive is more often than not seen as a negative. Maybe because it’s a different way of thinking, that is outside of what is considered the norm? People are nervous of it, or don’t quite trust it, and that is why they choose to think only of the negatives instead of embracing all of the positives that can come along with logical thinking.
Editor’s Note: Something that needs to be said is that people, whether autistic or not, are all different. Whenever something in the articles refers to people with autism, it means many autistic people, and not all. Also, every positive trait in this series of articles has been put forward by multiple people with autism for inclusion. There is so much negative coverage of autism in the media that most autistic people want to see some representation of the positive aspects that it can bring to their lives.
* Look out for Paddy-Joe’s up-coming articles on functioning labels, and if they can ever be useful.