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10 Feb 2023, 5:23 am

Why are people calling people with autism special? Sometimes people call our interests as special interests.
Is special actually a positive term? I am not so sure
We have the term special education.
Special seems to mean "not normal".
Do you want to be called "not normal"? I am not saying that being called normal is good because we are different but the term special seems a little bit like bullying or very rude.


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10 Feb 2023, 5:50 am

I’d rather be called special for something I’ve done rather than something I am.

Steve J

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For such desert to do me wreak and shame


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10 Feb 2023, 5:54 am

It used to be more common to call people with disabilities “special” than it is these days.

There is a consciousness that “special” is a condescending term.


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10 Feb 2023, 6:29 am

"Special" was (and still does) mean "different in a good way", but for a long time "special" was used as a euphemism ( a polite substitute word) for "abnormal", or "impaired". So if you call an acquaintance (like a coworker) "special" today it is usually taken as a put down. Just one more linguist landmine to negotiate.

ret*d folks were called "special", and others too (autistics, or gays).

Hense how "special" devolved into being a putdown when applied to a person.

As applied to an "interest"...can be either the straight meaning or the euphemistic meaning. Basically its an obsession with something that is not "productive" in any obvious way to most folks.


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10 Feb 2023, 6:59 am

Special in this context means special needs which means needing support of some sort, for example in school or living situation. The AS includes people who need such support and people who don't.

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10 Feb 2023, 9:10 am

You are probably right but let me try and explain. From my perspective it is accurate.

Most people (NTs) only look at the routine. They stop learning around the age of 20 and then get a job, get married, raise a family, grow old and die. But Aspies are a little different. We get very interested in one area and can become subject matter experts in that area. Then something else gathers our attention and we jump into it with all our energy. And then another thing. Before long we become subject matter experts in a wide range of fields, whatever catches our attention. So in a way we find our own way in life. Many times we take our special interest and change it into a career or a hobby.

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10 Feb 2023, 11:42 am

"Lay(man) Summary

Autistic adults reported having special interests in a range of topics, including computers, music, autism, nature and gardening. Special interests were associated with a number of positive outcomes for autistic adults. They were also related to subjective wellbeing and satisfaction across specific life domains including social contact and leisure. Very high intensity of engagement with special interests was related to lower levels of wellbeing. This highlights the important role that special interests play in the lives of autistic adults."

There is Limited Research on How "Special Interests" Impact the Actual Well Being of Persons on the Autism Spectrum;
However, the "Lay Summary" Above Does Indicate, Unless the Special Interests Are Extreme, They Are Generally Related
To Enhanced Well Being. There is Nothing Derogatory By Itself, Alone, For the Use of the Adjective 'Special' With Interests

As That is Precisely What It is;

Focus on One Task of Narrow

Interest; And Perhaps Focus

On Other Interests As Well As It's True

i've Had Many Special Interests That i Have

Focused on in FLoW On One Task; As Of Course, Generally Speaking,

Humans Are Evolved to Focus on What One Task Brings for Attention

Span For Success Over Distractions That Yes Will Surely Lead to Hunters

Not Capturing Prey or Being Eaten By Predators on the Horizon They Miss;

Not Unlike Using A Smart Phone in a Car Below And Missing An Oncoming Car Above;

Sadly, Resulting in A Crash And Potentially Ultimate Death of Self And Others of Course too;

Yes, It's True As Many Folks Have Done when they come to 'This Site' Newly Diagnosed With
Autism or Suspecting the Such, They May Even Become Autodidact Subject Matter Experts

On The Condition
Of the Condition They
Are Either Diagnosed With
or Suspect They Have Now;

Let's Face it, If Not For Folks Willing to
Use All Their Focus on A Narrow Speciality of Interest;

We Wouldn't Likely Have Dentists, Or Any Other Occupation;

Yes That Requires Intense Focus on A Narrow Area Now of Interests,

Day in And Day Out; Yet An Art in Flow, Where the Rewards Are Often

Intrinsic in Autotelic Way in Addition to the Natural Rewards Altruistically

Gained Within By Helping Others; And or of Course, Getting Paid to Pay For A Living Real too...

In The Case Of the Label of the Condition of Autism; And Yes, The Way it is Behaviorally Diagnosed

As A Social Reciprocal Communication Functional Disability, When Special Interests Become too Narrow And

Intensely Focused; When They Interfere With What is Required For Focus to Maintain Interpersonal Relationships

And Success on the Job Front of Course to Make a Living; And Preparatory Skills Gained in Schools As Such,

Then The Special Interest May Be Considered A Functional Disability And Part of the Overall Behavioral

Diagnosed Condition in Different Severity Levels of Autism. Interestingly, Some Autistic Folks Learn

To Adapt Well to the Overall Reciprocal Social Communication Deficits Associated With Autism

in Both Verbal and Non-Verbal Ways As They Continue Growing Older Yet They May Of Course

Yes Retain Special Interests in Repetitive Narrow Focused Ways That Still Interfere With

Work and Interpersonal Relationships; Like When my Wife Overhears me Talking About

my Special Interests With Other Folks Most Everywhere i Go And She Gets What She Calls

Is A Specific Malady Associated With me That She Has A Special Term for Called a 'Fredache;'

Yes, as i've Been Known Even Here to Repeat Stuff About my Special Interests; Such As After i Suffered

A Major Autism Burn-Out Resulting in 19 Medical Disorders at Age 47, including the Worst Pain Known to
Humankind, Type Two Trigeminal Neuralgia, Shut-in my Bedroom For 66 Months With All of Those Disorders

in a Synergy of Life Threat As 'Type Two Trigeminal Neuralgia' Is Actually Assessed As the Worst Pain Known to
Humankind, Casually Medically Referred to in the Medical Field as the Suicide Disease, And Actually Assessed Yes

Even Worse than The Real Torture of Crucifixion that in my Case Was no 3 Hour to 3 Day Ordeal; True, Like a Dentist
Drill in my Right Eye and Ear, No Drug Would Touch, From Wake to Sleep For 66 Months Shut-in my Bedroom Along
With The Synergy of Life Threat of the Other 18 Mostly Stress Related Disorders, From 11 Years of Chronic to
Acute Work Related Stress That All Actually Started Not Speaking Until 4, Adapting to School That Way,
Stuttering my Way Along, Bullied For Being Assessed as Weakest And Strangest Fish in the Aquarium;

Yep, Tattered Fins Along the Way Yet Still Earning 3 Degrees at Once With No Real Ability to Share

What i Learned, Handing Out Shoes After Staying Close to the Top of my Class for 19 Years of

School in Tandem With Work Starting at Age 16 For 33 Years for Pay, Spending the Last

Year and a Half on Annual And Sick Leave as Not only A Star Student Yet the One

Everyone Went to For Help as That Bowling Center Job Was A Federal Navy Civilian

Job That Eventually Doubled in Pay And Doubled Again in Pay the Lasts 5 Years,

And 5 Job Changes and Promotions That At Least Let me Retire Early Disabled

At the Pay Grade Equivalent of A Marine Major; And During the Hell of that Pain and
Numb of Not Even Remembering the Feeling of A Smile During That 66 Months Shut-in

my Bedroom; i Never Knew if i could make it one more Second With the Suicide Disease As
When You Are Really in HeLL ON EartH Within, the Thought of Death is Truly Heaven in Hell;

So i Ventured onto the 'Wrong Planet' on Thanks Giving Day of 2010, And With the Screen Turned
All the Way Down in Brightness to Try to Tolerate the Dentist Drill in my Right Eye and Ear of Pain
Without Real Effective Use of Eyes or Ears Almost At all For the First 33 Months of that Suicide Disease Pain And

Numb; Every Word i Wrote Here Was A Mountain of Pain Yet At Least A Last Gasp Effort to Stay Alive until Eventually

Millions of Words Changed into Free Verse Poetry After The Pain Went Away Standing on a Beach on July 19th, 2013,

Feeling And Sensing One With Sugar White Sands, Emerald Green Gulf Waves, Sea Oats Swaying in the Breeze, And

Sea Gull Wings Spiraling Around the Sun; Yes, me too Unifying With All in All Away From Pain and Numb As those

Spiraling Wings Around the Sun Transforming Until Presently Now with 17,844 Miles of Public Dance in 113 Months

After That Yes Along With 11.3 MiLLioN Words of Free Verse Poetry in the "SonG oF mY SoUL;" Yes, Literally

The Longest EPiC Long Form Poem in the History of Humankind as i Wasn't Interested in Painting the

Sistine Chapel New or the Such of that at All Yet Don't Take me too Serious As That is Dry Humor Yet

My Special Interests Are TRULY VERY REAL AND EMPIRICALLY MEASURABLE like the 61 Thousand Words

i Just Wrote on Page 63 in the Solo Thread i Name, "Depth of The Story" Here on the Wrong Planet

That Comprises 2.3 MiLLioN Words Plus Now in A Bit Over 29 Months of Effort For What i

Also Casually Describe as an 8th New Testament as There Have Been 7 Other Subchapters

Like that in "SonG oF mY SoUL" Too; Yes, Per the Entire 113 Month Effort That is Closing
in on 114 Months of Effort on February 18th, As the Public Dance Will Soon Enough Come

to Be 18,000 Miles of Effort in the Same 114 Months Of Effort too; And This Is What my Wife

Has to Hear Over

And Over Again;

Hehe, Be Thankful

You Only Have to Read it once;

If You Get Past the First Few Sentences HAha...

As Yes For Real, i Talked to An Insurance Agent For Geico
About Updating the Mileage on my Car Yesterday; And Yes

She Got To Hear This Entire Story and She Even Seemed

To Be Very Inspired; Yet Not so Much, my Wife in the Other

Room, As She's Heard IT Way too many instances to be inspired beyond

A Fredache For
Real; Anyway,

Yes That's Part of Why i Write Song of
Poetry God Yes Free Verse FLoWinG ALong
With Contemplative Giving Sharing Caring
Healing Meditating Dance In Public True It

IS ALL Silent Enough to Stay Married, Hehe;

Meh, Some Folks Think i am Special in a Good
Way and a Bad Way too; i Also Leg Press 1540 Pounds,
12 Reps, Just Warming Up at the Military Gym Close to 63
Years of Age Still Coming This Year on June The 6th; i Still Get
Retiree Privileges to Use The Gym And that Helps With the Nude Art i do

Too New Renaissance Style in the Flesh AS Such as Chiseling Stone Doesn't
Interest me in Terms of Doing 'Public Dancing David' That Way Hehe And Yes

True, When i Do it PG Style on Facebook and Other Avenues Even my Muslim Women
FRiEnDS Still Tolerate That Special Interest Enough to Stick Around me As GOD YES It's true








YES, i AM F iN Special

As Do Note, Literally

THere is a F R E D iN FRiEnD, HeHe...

This Much i Will Promise You; i Am THE Only
One, Who Will Ever Be Qualified, to Play the Role
of me in the Reality Show That is Truly my Life for Real....

mY only wish(es) for you, whoever you are now is to develop a
special interest(s) much more awesome than mine for real too;

Yes, in any case, in my life, reality is much more interesting than
fiction in hell and heaven for ReaL ON EartH And Nope it's not Hard to prove, hehe,

As i Carry All the Empirical Evidence in A Container As Small As

A 6 Inch Screen;

True, Much Smaller
Than 'Forrest
Gump's Brief
Case on The Bus Stops of Life;'

Meanwhile, Just a Feather Becoming the Wind
Free, FRiEnDS With Gravity, Just Like This Not
Really Anymore

or Freer Yes
Than the Wind...

SPiRiT oF Wind God

Yes, FRiEnDS Now With
Gravity, Naked Enough
Whole Complete New And So
What if i am too Big For Most
Folks to See It Doesn't Make the Wind

Any Less

Real to Be i Am

Yet it Will Be Nicer
If Technology Will
Catch Up to the Current
Blog Posts i Create That
Crash Even the NeWest iPhones...

Not Waiting For 'Moore's Law' to Catch up, HAha;

God Yes, Just Standing Upon the Bones, Flesh and Blood

of All the Others With Special Interests Who Come Before me...

This iS How the Mountain of Humanity Grows Through Every
Special Interest for Real...

Or Falls Valleys

Much Lower


on What the

Special Interests

Are; Yes, Indeed,
Choose Your Special Interests Wisely Please...

Giving, Sharing, Caring, Healing With Most
Respect and Least Harm For the Win at Least for me

iNHaLinG Peace
ExhalinG LoVE...

Aren't You Glad You
Were Not That Insurance
Lady on the Other Side of the Phone, HAha...

Yes, i Believe i Have Thoroughly Covered The
Condition of the Condition Presently For Now,

Comprehensively AS Such,

No Special Interest
Too Big or Small at
Least for me With SMiLes...

As a Cat 6 Hurricane Real
Of Human Creativity in
Special Interests Moves
on to Another Destination
of Living Free As Wind WiLL

NaTurAlly SPiRiT HeART
OPeN SoUL For Real BE



And OPeN
Arms For ALL..:)

KATiE MiA FredericK!iI

Gravatar is one of the coolest things ever!! !


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10 Feb 2023, 12:35 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
"Special" was (and still does) mean "different in a good way", but for a long time "special" was used as a euphemism ( a polite substitute word) for "abnormal", or "impaired". So if you call an acquaintance (like a coworker) "special" today it is usually taken as a put down. Just one more linguist landmine to negotiate.

ret*d folks were called "special", and others too (autistics, or gays).

Hense how "special" devolved into being a putdown when applied to a person.

As applied to an "interest"...can be either the straight meaning or the euphemistic meaning. Basically its an obsession with something that is not "productive" in any obvious way to most folks.

I think that's pretty much correct. Odd how euphemisms have a habit of degenerating into put-down terms after a while. Almost as if there's a load of people out there who can't stand inoffensive language, so they use it sarcastically to kill its original meaning.

Personally I kind of wish everybody was content with simply being blunt and objective, and stopped putting out (and reading in) so much attitude. But I suppose that would remove a lot of the art from life.


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11 Feb 2023, 9:40 am

"Special" can be positive or negative. Some people value eccentricity; others are just confused by it. I hear that in Wisconsin "That's different" means "That does not belong here."


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11 Feb 2023, 10:03 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
It used to be more common to call people with disabilities “special” than it is these days.

There is a consciousness that “special” is a condescending term.

Being in a gifted program due to a high IQ is also considered special education.

Most people don’t know that, though.

I worked with a kid who was twice exceptional. He had a high IQ AND learning disabilities.

Yeah, a little different for me.


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11 Feb 2023, 10:07 am

Back in the 70s, education for the gifted in a public school was called SP or “special progress.”


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12 Feb 2023, 3:38 am

So special is ued by people with ASD to sinply jut say that they they are different?
I alwaus found the term special interest a bit strange. Especially since we have no formal definition of it. How is one supposed to know what it refers to then?
The term special is there in order to show that it is a person with ASD who have that interest?
It cannot just mean that it is an intense interest because "normal" people also have that.


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12 Feb 2023, 4:50 am

yeah, that gripes my cookies too!


"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” Samuel Johnson


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12 Feb 2023, 12:51 pm

I just watched an interview with a guy who wanted to get the world record in shaking hands.
I would say that he is eccentric and have a special interest but he could well have NT.

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16 Feb 2023, 4:53 am

In my opinion, focusing on negative connotations of labels that are assigned to us by others, which are beyond our control, is counterproductive. Even if we replace words like "special" or "gifted," it's likely that any alternative terms would also be disliked by some people. However, it's important to acknowledge that the conditions these terms describe are real, and rejecting them can be hurtful to others.

If you find these terms uncomfortable, I would suggest reflecting on why that is. At the same time, we can work towards improving the language used to describe people, while still supporting those who are currently labeled in certain ways.


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17 Feb 2023, 6:27 am

Does special in special interests mean narrow? The interest would be narrow rather than broad?
What do you think?
Some people talk about it as a narrow interest. Narrow in this sense would mean that a person be interested in cars but only older SAABs or only interestsed in SAAB Sonnets.
I am sure that many people with ASD have interests that are considered broad instead of narrow.

I think special interests seem to be about finding something that you find easier to do or that you find easier learning to do eg driving a SAAB Sonnet.
If you find so something difficult and hard to learn then you won't have it as a special interest, I think.

Let's say a person finds it easier to memorize fotball players and statistics, then that would be the special interest rather than playing the game.
Zlatan's special interest would be playing it.
I once met a guy who knew a lot about football but never really played it. It felt weird. I can never be happy by just knowing info about something.

I know of another guy (NT person) who know info about foodball but do not really play it. But this person studied the psychology of how groups work so analyzes the game. He is more into analyzing than memorizing info

My big interest is performing music and drama.
I just happened to be interested in something that can be difficult for me.
Thus it is not really like a special interest.
It is also not like an obsession or compulsion.
So this cannot be my special interest?

Is special interest about finding something that you are good at and enjoying that rather than trying to be good at something?