Executive functioning strengths
So, we often focus on areas of difficulty in order to help find strategies to assist in these areas. However, it is really important to remember that we also have areas of strengths! Focusing on our strengths is a great way to feel some pride and confidence. These are areas in which we can thrive, and often they can compensate for areas of relative weakness.
Of course, we all know there are far more strengths associated with being autistic than just these! These strengths are related to the “executive functions”, but you will have many, many more strengths which can be nurtured, utilised, and enjoyed!
While many neurodivergent individuals may struggle with directing focus to a specific task, the act of sustained focus can be an incredible strength. When something really grabs your attention, are you suddenly able to focus on it for long periods of time? Take into account the fact that neurotypical people have an average sustained focus ability of 10-20 minutes – do you have a strength in sustained focus?
Typically, neurodivergent people are considered to have poor behavioural or emotional inhibition, due to the fact that we can be very expressive when we
feel the need.
However, have you ever wanted to have an emotional response, have wanted to stim, or scream, or flap, and you didn’t, because you knew others would find it inappropriate in this moment? Congratulations! You have strengths in your ability to inhibit!
Some autistic people have are driven towards organisation and order. This can be really great! This may mean that you’re able to keep a really tidy workspace, or hold timetables in your head, or able to organise information into logical or novel categories. Awesome!
Neurodivergent people are really good at having viewpoints, ideas, and solutions which are different to neurotypical people. If you’re thinking differently, you’re thinking creatively! Creative thought is a really valuable strength, and one which is often misunderstood as having to be “artistic” in some way.