Strengths and Skills of Students with Autism

Top 10 Tips for Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum

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1. Whatever you’re going through, you are not alone.

2. The only person who can decide who you are is you.

3. Sometimes your pace and methods will be different, and that’s totally fine.

4. Once your school days are over, they’re over forever.

5. Find the places where you can play to your strengths.

6. Don’t blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault.

7. If you need help, ask for it.

8. Everyone else finds things difficult too.

9. I’d rather be happy than normal.

10. Remember how much you’re loved.

11. Finally, listen to other people’s advice.

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All students, whether they have a diagnosis of autism or not, have a unique set of skills, strengths and talents. When working with students with autism, it is particularly important to identify the student’s strengths. This can then be the key used to unlock their motivation and thus their engagement, learning and interaction.

Some students with autism will be driven by their particular skills and interests and these must be recognised and utilised as the first step towards social and academic engagement, which in turn can lead to student empowerment, a deeper incentive to learn leading to success in learning, achievement and maturation.

Some examples of strengths commonly associated with autism are:

  • Specialist knowledge in topics of interest
  • Exceptional memory for facts and figures
  • Very high level of motivation in topics and activities that are of interest
  • Ability to carry out tasks with a high degree of accuracy
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Ability to follow instructions and rules very accurately when taught in the correct way
  • Exceptional skills in creative arts, such as Art and Music
  • Ability to see the world from a different perspective and so bring a different insight
  • Ability to bring an innovative approach to problem solving
  • Tendency to be honest and non-judgemental
  • Tendency to have a strong sense of loyalty in all social relationships
  • Unique sense of humour
  • Passionate about hobbies and interests
  • Enthusiasm for favourite interests with a drive to share this enjoyment with others
  • Strengths and challenges by Dr Stephen Shore

What others perceive the strengths of teenagers with autism as being:

Or as their peers have reportedly said:

Parents have said:

This resource has been designed to support teenagers with autism, their parents, families and professionals working with them. The Teenage Resource provides resources and ideas, which when differentiated respectful of  the individuality of each young person with autism and how his or her autism impacts on his or her life, may be suitable for supporting a teenager with autism across a variety of environments and situations. All content in this resource is based on the Centre’s transdisciplinary model, which is informed by the Centre’s evidence based practice.

The strategies recommended in this resource will not be suitable for every young person.

Strategies should only be introduced after a period of observation, assessment and evaluation , and should be tailored appropriately to meet the unique needs of the young person with autism.