I’ve worked with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD for a long time and often as health care professionals and parents we tend to focus on the “Disability” part of a person’s diagnosis. As I’ve spent time speaking across Quebec about Autism and other invisible disabilities, I’ve been fortunate to get to meet a ton of fantastic parents who have shared their stories with me and how they focus on the “abilities” of their children.
Many people with ASD have extraordinary strengths that sometimes are hidden by some of their sensory behaviors. Many looking in from the outside at these behaviors don’t see the strengths!
One of my most inspiring stories is from a colleague and mom with a child with autism. Her child would often spend hours drawing and creating artwork. She supported him wholeheartedly and encouraged him to continue that passion. He later turned that talent into digital design and last year was offered summer work for a company working in his town.
This next link is to Benjamin Talbot a 16-year-old artist with ASD. Check him out and the art work he is doing. Once again, this is an example of turning strengths into life work!
Benjamin’s message is as follows:
“Please, don’t be afraid of people who are autistic, we are only different. Anyway, everyone is different in some way. I have dreams and I want to realize them.”
I believe this is true for many disabilities, including ADHD. Many people with ADHD have incredible talents. Many people don’t know and understand that ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t pay attention, in fact, people with ADHD often have an ability to hyper-fixate on a task they are doing-especially if they are passionate about it. I’ve watched my husband who has ADHD when he is coding and designing a website. He can focus for hours and produce beautiful work.
I am inspired by the stories people share with me about focusing on one’s strengths! I encourage all of you to be the person that helps foster a child’s strengths and turn them into passions no matter what their “Disability” is!