You can think of a special interest as a really, really intense hobby. Like extremely intense. Sometimes special interests can become too much, like an obsession or an addiction, whereas hobbies are rarely obsessive or intense.
Many autistic people experience hypersensitivity to bright lights or certain light wavelengths (e.g., LED or fluorescent lights). Certain sounds, smells, textures and tastes can also be overwhelming. This can result in sensory avoidance – trying to get away from stimuli that most people can easily tune out.
One of the most common characteristics of autism is the existence of restricted interests, or interests that are very narrow and intense. The majority of autistic people have one or more special interests that can vary in topic.
Masking may involve suppressing certain behaviours we find soothing but that others think are 'weird', such as stimming or intense interests. It can also mean mimicking the behaviour of those around us, such as copying non-verbal behaviours, and developing complex social scripts to get by in social situations.
While ADHD can make it difficult to focus, sit still, or control impulses, autism can limit a person's scope of interests or affect social skills and learning abilities. ADHD and autism often share symptoms, like difficulty communicating or concentrating. Additionally, it's possible that the conditions are connected.
Restricted interests are common in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For example, a person might be interested in a specific TV show, math or drawing. People with restricted interests are often experts on the topics or objects they enjoy. Sometimes they share their interests with others.
Some autistic people like routine and dislike change, or might have a really strong interest (hyperfixation) in a particular topic. Autistic people may also move their hands and bodies in different repetitive ways, such as waving their hands, tapping their fingers or rocking their bodies.
“For some people with autism spectrum disorder,” Disner said, “when there is an acknowledgment that another person is interested in them and wants a relationship with them, they can become hyperfixated on that person or that relationship in general.”
display unusual sensory seeking behaviour such as sniffing objects or staring intently at moving objects. display unusual sensory avoidance behaviours including evasion of everyday sounds and textures such as hair dryers, clothing tags, vacuum cleaners and sand.
In children and teenagers with high-functioning autism, this can present as a limited social circle, difficulty completing group work, or problems sharing toys and materials. Many people with ASD have sensory difficulties. Certain tastes, noises, smells, or feelings can be intolerable.
Hobbies such as collecting stamps, playing cards or board games, drawing and photography can also provide opportunities for enjoyment, as well as increased self-confidence and motivation individuals on the spectrum.
Many people with Asperger syndrome have intense and highly focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong, and can be anything from art or music, to trains or computers. An interest may sometimes be unusual. One person loved collecting rubbish, for example.
Neurotypical individuals also develop special interests, often in the form of hobbies. Although past research has focused on special interests held by children with autism spectrum disorder, little is known about their role in adulthood.
Many autistic people have intense and highly-focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. It can be art, music, gardening, animals, postcodes or numbers. For many younger children it's Thomas the Tank Engine, dinosaurs or particular cartoon characters.
Fixation, or hyper-focusing on a specific interest, is a recognized feature of autism. Fixations, along with other features or symptoms of autism like repetitive behaviors and cognitive inflexibility, may appear from the outside to be symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Intense interests and repetitive behaviour can be a source of enjoyment for autistic people and a way of coping with everyday life. But they may be obsessions and limit people's involvement in other activities and cause distress or anxiety.
A distinguishing aspect of special interests is their intensity: They can be so absorbing that they are the only thing the person wants to do or talk about. These interests are extremely common among people with autism: 75 to 95 percent have them.
Although every child with autism is different, here are some common characteristics in girls with autism: A special interest in animals, music, art, and literature. A strong imagination (might escape into the worlds of nature or fiction)
Describing trousers as "leg sleeves" or feathers as "bird leaves" and milk as "cereal water" are also examples of idiosyncratic speech.
Difficulty Communicating and Awkward Communication
Signs that someone is finding it difficult to communicate include: – Difficulty reading social cues and participating in conversations. – Difficulty empathizing with other people's thoughts and feelings. – Struggling to read people's body language or facial expressions.
Some developmental health professionals refer to PDD-NOS as “subthreshold autism." In other words, it's the diagnosis they use for someone who has some but not all characteristics of autism or who has relatively mild symptoms.
According to the Asperger/Autism network, a female with ASD may: Know that she is different, noticing that her interests veer away from those of her peers. Prefer having only one or two friends, or to play in solitude, having an appreciation of and focus on specific interests.