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kmarie57
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13 Oct 2019, 5:48 pm

Hey, so I was wondering if reading can be considered a "special interest" or whatever.

I have an official autism diagnosis (as of a few months ago, at the age of 24). The psychologist spoke with both my dad and boyfriend. My dad was obviously the one she spoke to about stuff from my childhood. According to the things he filled out, the social problems were definitely there. But there doesn't seem to be any evidence of restricted interests or anything like that. I am not sure if my dad just forgot or didn't realize my interests were overly strong or what.

I am wondering if reading can be considered a special interest or whatever you want to call it.

I know I definitely read a lot when I was younger, but it didn't really matter to me what I was reading. I would read anything as long as I had the chance to read. For example, coming home from school in the afternoons I would sit at the table to eat a snack. While eating, I would want to be reading, but if I didn't have a book around, I would read one of my sister's even though she is 6 years younger than me. If a book wasn't around, I would read any kind of magazine that was available. If there were no magazines, I might read the food box or papers nearby.

So what do y'all think?



Bravo5150
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13 Oct 2019, 5:54 pm

Sounds like hyperlexia, a common comorbid with autism. I would think in order to be called a special interest it would be interested in a specific topic.



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13 Oct 2019, 6:07 pm

I'm not quite sure whether I'd call it a special interest, either, but I certainly know the behaviour. Reading isn't just something that I like to do, it's a compulsion for me - for example; I read the labels on shampoo bottles (for the millionth time) whenever I'm sat on the loo, and I have trouble talking to people sometimes if they are standing in front of anything with writing on it because the urge to read the writing keeps distracting me. It doesn't matter what the words are about or whether I already know what they'll say, and I've had some funny reactions from people when they've caught me reading something that they think odd for my age, gender, or beliefs.

There is a trait called hyperlexia <link>, which is thought to be mostly related to autism, which is characterised by precocious reading ability and an interest in words regardless of their context or meaning. It's usually associated with early childhood reading ability (much like autism was once thought to be only a childhood thing), but I've come across many other autistic people online with this compulsive reading trait, and I have a suspicion that it may be the grown-up form of hyperlexia.


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renaeden
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14 Oct 2019, 5:32 am

When I was assessed for autism, the psychologist made note of the fact that I'd read anything. And it was true. I like sites like this because there's so much to read. I'd never get bored. I can't go on Reddit because I'd get stuck there.

My mum tells me that I would read bus tickets and memorise what was written on them. There was a time when I was about 5 that my sisters were putting their heads under water in the bath and it scared me. I was practically screaming with panic when my mum came and led me out of the bathroom and into my bedroom where she sat me on my bed and gave me a new book to read. Nothing would have calmed me down quicker.

The interest in reading has waned somewhat because of uni. I would have to read so many articles that in the end I was tired of reading.

But if I have to sit somewhere and wait for whatever reason, I really want something to read. It gives me focus and grounding. It calms me.



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14 Oct 2019, 6:57 am

That's interesting. Will you read anything and still like it. What about tax law?



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14 Oct 2019, 7:03 am

I don't know about reading in general, but I'm a major consumer of classic literature. Sometimes some real life problems have occurred because I chose to read literature instead of doing work I was supposed to do.

I wish I could participate in literary meetings, but reading classics also turned me into a big literary snob. I cannot help but having a poor opinion of anyone who likes to read fantasy of young adult fiction, which is most people in book clubs.



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14 Oct 2019, 7:35 am

It’s a productive “special interest,” that’s for sure.

As long as you don’t let it make you forget to eat, or pay bills, etc.

I don’t find interest in reading particularly “autistic.” Many non-autistic people have this particular “special interest.”



Trueno
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14 Oct 2019, 8:21 am

When I read poetry, and particularly the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt, I would consider it a special interest. When I read sci-fi I do it for fun.
Having thought about what the difference is... I think the poetry requires a lot of thought and mental processing, stopping and pondering and even looking up references. When I read sci-fi it's just relaxing, which is why I tend to do it more when I'm on holiday.

The highs are much higher with with poetry... but it is poetry, after all.

Edit: also what kraftie says... I don't see why what I do would be an autistic trait. It's more scolarly than obsessive.


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Trogluddite
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14 Oct 2019, 12:23 pm

aquafelix wrote:
Will you read anything and still like it. What about tax law?

I think that's where I'd distinguish hyperlexia (assuming that's what it is) from pleasurable reading or researching a special interest. When I feel compelled to read words it seems like it might be a form of mental stimming, or an innate diversion tactic to block out stress. When I'm doing that kind of reading, the meaning of the words is almost irrelevant, and I treat the words almost like "toys" for my mind to play with just for the patterns that the printed letters and sounds make - as if the words are a purely sensory experience like looking at an abstract painting or listening to instrumental music.

Even when I am reading for pleasure or research, I can find myself slipping into reading that way. I'll remember favourite words or grammatical forms from what I've just read, but only after several pages realise that I haven't taken in any of the plot or information that the words described. When I find myself reading the labels on random product packaging etc., I'll even do it with foreign language translations that I haven't a hope of understanding.

I draw the line at reading EULA's when I'm installing PC software, though! :lol:


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IsabellaLinton
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14 Oct 2019, 12:34 pm

https://the-art-of-autism.com/females-a ... checklist/

I may have shared this link with you before, but I'm not sure. Reading can most certainly be a special interest. It is especially common for girls and women on the spectrum. If your reading becomes obsessive like mine, is repetitive, or follows routines, this is certainly one sign of a special interest. In my case, I collect books by the hundreds including multiple editions of the same titles, and I read them in a ritualistic way (certain books at certain times of the year, sitting in certain spots, organising and cross referencing and comparing). Words and books are most definitely a special interest for me and many others.



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14 Oct 2019, 12:45 pm

Yes, I get it! I was an avid and fast reader since early childhood. It's a lot better when I'm interested in the subject or the book is good, but I think I get what you're saying - most often I would rather read a bad book than watch TV for instance...

Ah, Isabella just posted and I relate to that too - I collect books, read writers I can't read in their original language in different translations or different languages and also re-read books a lot. I also chase on occasions rare or special editions and hugely enjoy books as objects - the touch, the smell etc.


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darkwaver
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14 Oct 2019, 7:41 pm

I read constantly when I was young, but more for escapism than a special interest.



AnonymousAnonymous
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14 Oct 2019, 7:46 pm

I like reading not only classic mystery novels, but also mystery novels written by authors popular as of now.

One example of classic mystery novels are the novels of Dashiell Hammett, best known for writing The Maltese Falcon which in turn launched the "pulp" sub-genre of mystery literature.

Another example of classic works of the mystery genre are the works of Edgar Allen Poe.


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IsabellaLinton
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14 Oct 2019, 8:00 pm

AnonymousAnonymous wrote:

Another example of classic works of the mystery genre are the works of Edgar Allen Poe.


Image



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15 Oct 2019, 1:57 pm

Reading isn't just a special interest of mine, it's a way of life. Everything I do depends on the written word in some form or another.



goatfish57
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15 Oct 2019, 3:33 pm

I love to read, especially novels. My interests are fairly broad and I have about a dozen different reading lists. For me, reading gives me insight into the minds and lives of others. The magic of an author getting into the heads of others astounds me to no end.

My favorite novel is Don Quixote and all its derivatives.


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