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GadgetGuru
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10 Oct 2021, 7:41 pm

There seems to be an impression among some that a SINGLE or very limited set of "special interests" is characteristic in ASD.

Is this often the case? My special interests / obsessions rotate through a fairly wide range, though typically just one at a time (for days, weeks or months) then on to the next, but always eventually back around to where I started...



WeirdMetronome
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11 Oct 2021, 4:39 am

I feel like I've experienced both. I've had rotating interests before, I think during periods where I am unhappy or unsettled and so I bounce between interests trying to find "the one". I've also experienced being very fixated on a limited scope of interests for a more extended period.

I've seen more people describe having rotating interests compared with a single/limited interest so I think it is pretty common.



SharonB
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11 Oct 2021, 9:18 am

Two weeks ago I was all about a sale, the week before that all about genealogy, the week before that all about maximizing a vacation, the week before that... I definitely move between highly focused interests. I'm uncomfortable when I am "between" focused subjects. I don't idle well. So for me it's not about singularity in subject, it's about singularity in focus. Welcome to WP.



Arathors
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11 Oct 2021, 8:35 pm

I wouldn't say mine rotate, since that implies an order, but they definitely have periods of greater or lesser focus relative to my other interests. (Except for my interest in relationships, that's always high.) Right now, writing and math are high, while chess puzzles and science journals are low. I still enjoy the latter two, but they're in the backseat for the time being. That can change rapidly, though.

SharonB wrote:
I'm uncomfortable when I am "between" focused subjects. I don't idle well.


I relate to this so hard! Uncomfortable is exactly the word for it. I've got no idea what to do with myself during the rare periods where I'm not interested in anything. It's not a depressed state, but it's still like all the color's been sucked out of the world. I'll force myself to do stuff in hopes something sparks, but it rarely does. Usually I just have to wait out the low period.


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autisticelders
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12 Oct 2021, 4:44 am

I have several intense interests, and a few superficial ones as well. Interests change as we grow and mature, and most of us have had interests that we laid aside or that were added in dimension or changed to an offshoot of the original interest as we changed over the years.



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12 Oct 2021, 5:05 am

GadgetGuru wrote:
There seems to be an impression among some that a SINGLE or very limited set of "special interests" is characteristic in ASD.

Is this often the case? My special interests / obsessions rotate through a fairly wide range, though typically just one at a time (for days, weeks or months) then on to the next, but always eventually back around to where I started...


I cannot speak for the majority. I have a couple of SPINS that are pretty fixed, but I also have several that I rotate in and out. Burnout (both mental and physical) is a very real thing for me, and I sometimes need breaks from SPINS just so I can enjoy them more (or not cause myself physical pain/illness).

SharonB wrote:
I'm uncomfortable when I am "between" focused subjects. I don't idle well.

I feel the same. I need something on which to focus.


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Lady Strange
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12 Oct 2021, 6:55 pm

Oh yea I do this. I'll be real hard core into something for x amount of time, then it will sort of fall off and I'll just be not doing much till something else takes its place. It can be days or a few weeks that it lasts, or sometimes even a year or more than that. Its odd because its almost like you fall in love with something or a topic or person (celebrity, band, etc) and its almost depressing when it goes away. I can remember in high school being super obsessed with Lord of the Rings, then when it died off I went into a mini depression and felt so lost.


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Lady Strange
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12 Oct 2021, 6:59 pm

Arathors wrote:
I wouldn't say mine rotate, since that implies an order, but they definitely have periods of greater or lesser focus relative to my other interests. (Except for my interest in relationships, that's always high.) Right now, writing and math are high, while chess puzzles and science journals are low. I still enjoy the latter two, but they're in the backseat for the time being. That can change rapidly, though.

SharonB wrote:
I'm uncomfortable when I am "between" focused subjects. I don't idle well.


I relate to this so hard! Uncomfortable is exactly the word for it. I've got no idea what to do with myself during the rare periods where I'm not interested in anything. It's not a depressed state, but it's still like all the color's been sucked out of the world. I'll force myself to do stuff in hopes something sparks, but it rarely does. Usually I just have to wait out the low period.


I never thought another person would explain so well what also goes on in my head. You describe it perfectly, like a low down period you have to wait out till the next thing comes along, but its like you can't pick it, it kind of has to find you. I don't think I've ever consciously picked special interest topics, it just happens like a perfect storm of events or something.


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HeroOfHyrule
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12 Oct 2021, 7:00 pm

My entire life I've rotated through special interests. There are various topics and video games that I cycle through completely obsessing over.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


Arathors
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12 Oct 2021, 9:05 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
There are various topics and video games that I cycle through completely obsessing over.


So you find yourself coming back to the same video games over and over again? I do that too, usually with games that had a special meaning or association for me when I played them.


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Curious about almost everything. I'm especially interested in chess puzzles (warning: I'm not good at them), writing fiction, and reading scientific journals, particularly articles that I can use to improve myself or my life somehow. PMs welcome.


HeroOfHyrule
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12 Oct 2021, 9:45 pm

Arathors wrote:
HeroOfHyrule wrote:
There are various topics and video games that I cycle through completely obsessing over.


So you find yourself coming back to the same video games over and over again? I do that too, usually with games that had a special meaning or association for me when I played them.

Yup! There are games that I specifically love to replay over and over, no matter how many times or how recently I have replayed them.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


Arathors
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12 Oct 2021, 9:52 pm

Nice! I really love the familiar kick of games like that. Sometimes it can be frustrating, though. I've wanted to play Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 for years, but I only end up playing Fallout 3 on repeat.


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13 Oct 2021, 4:47 am

HeroOfHyrule wrote:

Yup! There are games that I specifically love to replay over and over, no matter how many times or how recently I have replayed them.


This is me with certain MMORPGs :) I played Ragnarok Online when it was still in Beta, and I circle back around to it (although I play private servers now) every couple of years or so. There is so much nostalgia and comfort in it!


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WeirdMetronome
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13 Oct 2021, 8:52 am

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
Arathors wrote:
HeroOfHyrule wrote:
There are various topics and video games that I cycle through completely obsessing over.


So you find yourself coming back to the same video games over and over again? I do that too, usually with games that had a special meaning or association for me when I played them.

Yup! There are games that I specifically love to replay over and over, no matter how many times or how recently I have replayed them.


Oh wow yeah, I do this as well. It's sometimes a bit frustrating as I would like to try and play other games too but I always end up just playing the same circle of games over and over lol. I've got newer games that I bought then barely played because of this. :oops:



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13 Oct 2021, 8:53 am

WeirdMetronome wrote:
I've got newer games that I bought then barely played because of this. :oops:

SO relatable! I have so many Steam games that I have barely touched. T_T


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CinderashAutomaton
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13 Oct 2021, 10:06 am

Perhaps people are mistaking some of the deeper/more enduring interests that have built into notably unusual interests as ONLY a single or few special interests. The question I was asked during my assessment was if I have a (singular) special interest (not as in the moniker for autistic interests, but interests that are noteworthy in some manner) or something (singular) that I know better than other people.

That'd imply that the line of questioning would omit special interests/fixations/obsessions that haven't had the time or deep focus to become noteworthy in comparison to other people. It ignores completely each individual instance of abnormally (compared to non-autists) intense fixation and only looks at the phenomenon of mass accumulation caused by it.

...which isn't unreasonable. They can only look for the more reliable observable symptoms. For an autist who didn't know any better, the periods of hyper fixation might just be normal thing that they never questioned. Instead, other people's lack of interest or the significant disparity in knowledge compared to most people in a certain subject would be far more noteworthy and thus more likely to be remembered.

So perhaps that impression of autists is just a case of the game of telephone.

For the record, my special interests tend to gravitate around a few general abstract concepts, some closer some farther from the main focus. The outward expression of it could be simply generalized into several major interests and innumerable minor interests, but I who has dedicated a lot of time and effort to examining it and has access to the experience from a first-hand perspective, unfiltered by the difficulties of communication, know that the rules governing it are far more complicated, and far beyond the scope of laymen trying to understand autism and healthcare professionals trying to diagnose it.


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