1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Confused about special interests

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Ihaveaspergers, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. Ihaveaspergers

    Ihaveaspergers Active Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2020
    Karma:
    +91
    A lot of aspies talk about special interests. What would be a good definition of it?
    Some, including Tony Atwood, talk about how a special interest could be a thought blocker and an escape from what is difficult in life. This does not work for me as reality always kicks in when I practise my interests. I can even get very frustrated as things can be difficult. How can a special interest be an escape from reality? Practising music doesn't exactly takw me away from my difficulties. Maybe Tony Atwood refers to things line video game as it doesn't require any skills (but even that seems false)?
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Wolfsage

    Wolfsage In training to be Wolf King.

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2020
    Karma:
    +565
    Not entirely true on video games. They require skills to play. In any of them you play you have to first understand how to play it. That requires reading skills and visual processing. Add in reflex for racing games. To think faster and learn the track. Along with the strengths and limitations of your vehicle. Then there's puzzle games. Portal 2 is a good example. Simple tests at first. Then gradually it gets harder. The entire game is made to do one thing. Challenge your mind. On my first try I made it to level forty. Then faced a test I couldn't think the solution too. Gave up. Years past I tried again and best the game. That requires skill, patience, and determination.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit Dancing is exercise

    Messages:
    136
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Karma:
    +128
    The artist cannot stop, knowing full well that i am ruining my life, i have these things i absolutley must do and yet i dont. Its a compulsion i have to keep carving. In some i think the ocd type of behavior is more pronounced, less rational and more upsetting. I think that what you are referring to is that which makes you lose track of time.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Karma:
    +330
    Special interests have continuously been a thing with me. Dinosaurs when I was a little kid,...like every scientific fact about each dinosaur. Fishing as a teenager,...like the habitat, the schooling habits, the water temperature, the depth of water, the type of water, etc. Fish aquariums as a young adult,...got up to a 200 gallon natural, planted aquarium,...a balanced ecosystem,...no filters, etc. Some interests come and go. Some stay a lifetime,...exotic plants (100+ orchids right now), weight lifting (11 national records), alternative energy (solar panels on the house, battery storage, electric cars, etc). When we say a special interest, it usually refers to something that will be in your thoughts throughout the day,...it will somehow come up in conversation (usually with people who are not interested). Some people will say you have a "hobby",...but when that hobby becomes a "deep dive" into the scientific names, the biochemistry, the physics, down to the atomic level,...it's more of an obsession.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. Sara3

    Sara3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +294
    Maybe it can be considered an escape for some people?
    But you are right, it's not even an escape in reality. Life and problems will still be there. It's better to try to face them.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Owliet

    Owliet Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Karma:
    +126
    For non ASD people, hobbies can also be a bit deep focus but for those on the spectrum, you constantly think, plan or talk about your special interest to the point that it becomes an obsession. Sometimes, the interest holds you for years or a lifetime, and sometimes they are there briefly but they are strong in intensity.

    As a child, I was massively into dinosaurs. I could name them with their complicated names, talk about them continuously to anyone who would listen or wouldn’t listen...it was quite heavy focused. Same for the lion king, Owls, lions, ancient cultures, specific video games....

    A hobby is when you do things as a productive form, a special interest I think can be in that category or separately depending on what it is but a special interest is on a pretty deep level. I once knew someone who was low functioning ASD, who had an obsession for rubber ducks that you’d collect in the bath. She would constantly talk about them , and I’d argue it was also a hobby for her that she used to collect them too.

    I game as a hobby, and also play piano. Although piano is a hobby and not a special interest. Gaming does take me away from difficulties but I’d argue that does the same for anyone who does game regardless of being neurodivergent or not. But I do get a lot of enjoyment out of gaming, and if I’m playing Warcraft it’s a form of social interaction that I also get and develop when talking with guild people. As for skills, I’d argue that gaming helps my focus, my coordination and motor skills, memory.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. MyLifeAsAnAspie

    MyLifeAsAnAspie Active Member

    Messages:
    131
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2020
    Karma:
    +178
    A hobby becomes a special interest/obsession when you neglect something of importance to do it. Like eating maybe :(. I have certainly used special interests to avoid socializing for much of my life. Hopefully, you can move onto an interest which allows you to reach social goals in life.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ihaveaspergers

    Ihaveaspergers Active Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2020
    Karma:
    +91
    Is it true that people love video games because it gives you instant gratification?

    Did you ever experience frustration with your special interests? I hear a lot about people who feel very happy when they engage in their special intetests. This never really happens in my life. I sometimes even experience frustration.

    I play the piano but experience frustration sometimes. It is not exactly easy to escape from reality when you play the piano.
    But it can be a distraction from other things but not a distraction from frustration.
    I guess frustration only come when you try something that is way more difficult than what you should. I have never manages to get rid of frustration in music.
    Music also includes teacher that use methods I don't really like. It can be very social.
     
  9. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

    Messages:
    4,943
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +9,232
    Think that special interests are extremely important and l defintely encouraged my child's rotating interests because this can keep young kids from developing negative inappropriate behaviors. My daughter occupied her free time with guitar, video games, sewing, cooking, amine, reading. But l was lucky that l could provide these outlets for her.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

    Messages:
    4,943
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +9,232
    You may get better at dealing with frustration over a period of time. Piano may gently teach you that constant practice and patience do help and you do improve. If you are a perfectionist, then piano well help bring this recognition of this particular aspect of yourself and maybe you will learn that frustration is a key component of perfection. If you find a way to be perfect, bottle it and sell it, because many of us suffer from this. lol
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Owliet

    Owliet Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Karma:
    +126
    I think frustration is quite a normal reaction to have. You expect to progress quicker, better, this should be easy etc...especially if you happen to be a perfectionist. For example, as a hobby I’ do crafts and if something is taking too long or it doesn’t look as good as it should do I get frustrated because I lack patience because I’m a perfectionist. I find that being a perfectionist is a bit of a double edged sword...like it can be great but also bad a times depending on expectations.

    if you have a teacher that you don’t like, maybe you could change to one that you like better?

    add: as a gamer , for me , it depends on the game or my actions in game for instant gratification. Sometimes, if I decide to fast track the stairs or path and jump down from a big height without a save beforehand...it’s not instantly gratifying to have to reload from an earlier save and travel back there to do that quest because oF my own impatient stupidity,
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
    • Creative Creative x 1
  12. Owliet

    Owliet Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Karma:
    +126

    Happy birthday by the way.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Karma:
    +330
    "Did you ever experience frustration with your special interests? I hear a lot about people who feel very happy when they engage in their special intetests. This never really happens in my life. I sometimes even experience frustration."

    Sure. All the time. Usually it is something like,..."We don't have room for one more plant." (We do, but she doesn't want one more plant). "We don't have the money right now for that project." (Legit concern) It may also be some relative (a GM guy) telling me, "I saw a Consumer's Report article on how Tesla's Autopilot wasn't as good as GM's "autopilot"." My wife tapping me on the knee like "Don't you dare answer...." but then I lay into the fact that they compared GM's top-of-the-line,...expensive option, autopilot system with Tesla's basic,...and for free,...autopilot. Neither Consumer's Report, nor my relative, realized that they were not comparing Tesla's Full Self Driving technology which is some 7-10 years ahead of everyone else in the industry,...nor the fact that Tesla's basic Autopilot, indeed, did, out perform GM's system on the road. Media bias at its worst. OK,...I am laughing,...see what you made me do?:rolleyes::D This sort of thing is what I mean. Others here will have similar frustrations with their special interests, as well.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

    Messages:
    4,943
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +9,232
    What is so great is when we take a special interest and turn it into to a money making opportunity and support ourselves, such as product reviewer or company spokesperson for a brand we feel passionate about. Or inventor of something along our special interests. We on the spectrum, some of us have incredible determination despite the insurmountable odds we face.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Ihaveaspergers

    Ihaveaspergers Active Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2020
    Karma:
    +91
    what is the definition of perfectionism?
    I feel more like a frustrated child than a perfectionist.
    Also, I often do too much at the same time. Most people can do much at the same time but not me. This makes me super frustrated at times.
    I have poor organizing skills. This is common for aspies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Karma:
    +330
    "what is the definition of perfectionism?
    I feel more like a frustrated child than a perfectionist.
    Also, I often do too much at the same time. Most people can do much at the same time but not me. This makes me super frustrated at times.
    I have poor organizing skills. This is common for aspies."

    Perfectionism, for me,...is having some vision of what things should be. The frustration, could be, for example,...looking at an apple, then getting frustrated why you can draw a photographic-like representation of that apple. It could be a home project, it could be something for school or work,...whatever. It is that discrepancy between your vision,...keep in mind many autistics think in pictures and are visual learners,...and the reality before them.

    Multi-tasking,...it is a myth,...proven by science. What multi-tasking is,...it is quickly flipping your attention from one thing to the next. Autistics, stereotypically, are known for their intense focus. I am one of those people,...and do not multi-task,...despite what the demands are. I work in a busy, metropolitan hospital,...phones and alarms going off all the time,...getting pulled away all the time. The second I try to focus on more than one thing,...mistakes are made. It may frustrate me, it may frustrate others around me, but NO multi-tasking.

    The organizing skills,...I think everyone has a "system" that works for them. Mine is check boxes and lists of everything that needs to get done on a particular day,...especially at work. At home, I need to relax, despite my wife having "something" for me to do, and despite my protests,...and I generally avoid the list thing,...but it does work at home, as well.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
  17. Wolfsage

    Wolfsage In training to be Wolf King.

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2020
    Karma:
    +565
    For me it was more about seeing other worlds and stories. Some fiction others historical simulation. Places I can't normally go too.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,992
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Karma:
    +5,022
    It's only instant gratification if you play games that are specifically designed around that. Typically, mobile games, or overly-easy things. Some games just arent meant to provide a challenge.

    On the other end of things are games designed to stomp your face in and be extremely hard to conquer. There's hardly any "instant" to the gratification there, considering how frequently you'll lose before ever even coming close to a win. Those are the sorts of games I tend to play, and it usually takes an incredible amount of practice and skill to overcome that sort. I need a very high level of challenge for something to even hold my interest, so.... yeah, that's what I tend to be into.

    But then, that's what makes it work for me as a special interest as well: Because it's mentally engaging enough. If you're finding that a special interest isnt keeping you from thinking too much about negative things... then that interest isnt mentally engaging you enough. Look for something more challenging, something that will really get the mental gears turning. When those gears ARENT really turning is when the nervous aspects tend to kick in, because the mind just isnt finding much else to focus on.

    And that can be said about any hobby, really. It aint just gaming that can provide a mental challenge. Any hobby can be taken further to enhance the mental engagement you get out of it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  19. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,466
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Karma:
    +4,430
    I think people with ASD have learned that we have to define what things are for us. The experts have lead a lot of people astray. I had had experts say stimming can't be a stim unless it only brings relief while others say a stim can serve many purposes.

    Your special interest is simply something that consumes you for whatever reason. A person with ASD will know what that is and anyone who says No---the fact that you draw all day can't be a special interest cuz you like it or blah blah needs to go back into their lab and study rat feces.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  20. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

    Messages:
    4,943
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +9,232
    or study owl pelts.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1