Self advocate Sue Abramowski explains how many people with ASD feel about their interests and passions, and how these passions are unique and something to be proud of. This was originally posted on The Mighty.
If you’re familiar with autism, I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “special interests.” Everyone has something they have a passion for, or a hobby. Autistic people are no different. For us, that passion is often simply intensified.
For example, anyone who has known me since I was around 10 knows my main obsession: Sonic the Hedgehog. Heck, even people who have recently met me have posted Sonic-related things on my wall. For the “average” Sonic fan, it might mean having followed all the games, collecting a few figures, and following the comics. For the autistic Sonic fan, everyone who knows the person probably associates Sonic with them, because it’s one of the first things that remind them of the person!
I’ve been playing the games since I first played Sonic 1 for Sega Genesis when I was 9. I collect countless figures and plushies. I religiously collected the comics all through middle school. I’m sure I’ve bored people by going on about Sonic at some time or another. I know the details of the story, and the soundtracks are on my playlist. Sonic has brought me pure joy, and I just latched onto it. For autistics, it’s common for us to focus on one thing and find out everything we can about it.
Here’s an example of what many of us autistics refer to as “infodumping,” or talking about their special interests:
Another special interest of mine is the Android operating system. I got the first Android in 2008: The Google G1 manufactured by HTC. The very first version of Android past the betas was Cupcake. This was when Android decided to name each of its versions after desserts. I was instantly hooked. Here was something every techie dreamed of: a PC that could fit in the palm of your hand! I was impressed by its capabilities. I could download music — I didn’t need to sync an iPod to the computer anymore! I could use apps, email, write documents — oh and make phone calls and text too.
Android has come a long way since its early days — one can see that by looking at the current operating system: Oreo. We’ve made it that far into the alphabet already, and Android P is now in the developer preview stage! I always get psyched when the new versions come out, and as soon as a ROM is available to flash of it, I’m giving it a whirl.
I could go on more, but this is probably the point where some of you are starting to yawn, hehe. This just illustrates how passionate autistic people can be about the things we love! If you ever happen to be chatting with an autistic person, try asking them about some of the things that make them the happiest. Not only will you be finding common ground to connect with them, but you just might learn something as well.
About the Author
Sue Abramowski was diagnosed with autism in 2014, and she greatly enjoys writing about autism. She also has a Bachelor’s in Social Work, allowing her to work closely with people with a variety of mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.