Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder which affects the way an individual thinks and interacts with others. The main characteristic of autism is impairment in social communication and interaction, and restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. Social communication includes difficulty picking up on non-verbal signs such as facial expressions and body postures with a resulting deficit in comprehension. Some with autism also have problems processing verbal information and may be unable to carry a conversation or understand sarcasm or idioms.
Autism And Intellect
Autism is not associated with any intellectual disabilities, although some children struggle with math functions and memorizing facts because of difficulty communicating what they know. In many cases, individuals can learn to adapt their skills and become quite good at a variety of activities, but they will always show some symptoms.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. . It has also been defined as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”.
The idea behind emotional intelligence is that there are four main factors of this type of intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy. Individuals who exhibit heightened emotional intelligence are typically able to understand themselves and the people around them better than those who do not possess an elevated level of this type of intelligence.
Heightened Emotional Intelligence
Heightened emotional intelligence allows an individual to recognize their own feelings as well as the feelings of another person. People with heightened emotional intelligence are typically very good at recognizing the facial expressions of other people, especially those indicative of certain emotions. This awareness helps them to understand other people’s emotional needs and motivations.
They can use their understanding of emotions as a tool to attune themselves with those around them, which helps them to be more successful in personal and professional relationships. They tend to have enhanced interpersonal skills and are usually perceptive about the motives of others. People with heightened emotional intelligence typically have good communication skills, are able to negotiate or mediate conflicts, and are generally pleasant to be around. Their ability to connect with other people on an emotional level can translate into personal success as well as professional achievement.
Autism And Emotional Intelligence
Many people with autism find themselves facing social, interpersonal and communication challenges their entire life. Their behavior can often be perceived as odd by others who do not understand the motives behind it. The inability to properly perceive and express emotions can result in tantrums or outbursts that leave those involved feeling confused and frustrated.
Some people on the spectrum have a heightened ability to understand and relate to others. This characteristic has been dubbed “hyper-empathy” by some in the autistic community. While a person with autism can have difficulty feeling empathy for their own feelings, they may be acutely attuned to the feelings of others around them. Unfortunately, this understanding does not necessarily translate into an ability to appropriately display empathy.
Emotional hyper-sensitivity and difficulty regulating one’s feelings can lead a person with autism to be overwhelmed by emotions that appear to be going out of control. This leads to further loss of self-control over behavior, sometimes resulting in incidents of self-injurious or aggressive behavior which is often misinterpreted as being willfully ‘cruel’ to others.
The autistic spectrum is a wide and varied place, with many different manifestations of its characteristic traits. It is important for those surrounding individuals on the autism spectrum to take the time to understand the complexities of this condition so that appropriate accommodations can be made.
It is also important not to expect too much from an individual who has autism, as they may feel pressured to perform beyond their capabilities. It’s important to recognize and appreciate all of the wonderful abilities people on the spectrum possess as well as those that they struggle with.
Those who have autism and heightened emotional intelligence typically exhibit the characteristics of one or both disabilities to a lesser degree. This allows them to be more successful in dealing with people around them, leading to better interpersonal relationships which can help accomplish goals.