ASD: A Catalyst for Creativity
Differences don’t mean deficits. Sometimes the shortcut of labels and assumptions tied to differences leads to a view clouded with can’ts. A different path in thinking can open the way to a wellspring of potential.
A study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders surveys talents as it explores a correlation of creativity and autistic traits.
One of the authors, Dr. Martin Doherty, says, “It's important to recognize the strengths of people with autism spectrum disorders, as well as their difficulties. Highly unusual creative problem solving appears to be another strength that parents, educators and employers should be aware of.”
The study gave around 300 adults (about one-fourth of whom had an ASD diagnosis) surveys to gauge traits associated with ASD and to measure ingenuity.
Generally, people who scored high for creative thinking also had more ASD traits.
Dr. Doherty proposes that “people with higher levels of autistic traits are skipping the obvious answers and going straight to the more unusual ideas,” unlike those who “may be using free associations strategies” to furnish their first answers.
Bypassing socially ingrained responses opens up more paths to one-of-a-kind thinking. This trait is a catalyst for creativity.
When we highlight what someone can do instead of what someone struggles with, we can better work together to foster the kind of care and empathy that brings out the best in everyone.
What do you think about differences, struggles, and abilities?