Do all autistic people have special interests?

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Twiglet
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21 Oct 2023, 5:42 am

The stereotype for an autistic person is they have a lifelong intense interest where they know every fact and detail about that interest.

I don't have that. Am I misdiagnosed, a failed aspie, or is the stereotype not always true?

I have intense short lived interests, but I rarely feel the need to know every detail of a topic.
E.g. Pokemon interest... I love pokemon, but I'm not interested in memorizing Pokemon or stats etc. I do like buying loads of Pokemon toys.
E.g. Hobbies.. I will get interested in something like knitting, drawing, a new craft. It will be the only thing I do for a while (month --> year), but then I'll lose interest and move on to something new. When NTs get a new interest, is that how they react? (Do it every chance they can get at first, or is that considered obsessive)?

Sometimes I have no intense interest at all.



blitzkrieg
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21 Oct 2023, 5:45 am

Special interests in the outdated DSM IV (the bible of psychiatry, essentially) - was a qualifying crtieria for a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.

Other sub-types of autism under the DSM IV including High Functioning Autism & PDD-NOS didn't have special interests as something you needed to have to be diagnosed with them, so yes, you can have zero special interests and still be autistic if you meet the criteria for autism in other ways.



BillyTree
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21 Oct 2023, 6:14 am

Twiglet, I have a similar relationship to special interests. I have them for a period of time and then I focus on something else. After that I move on to something different until I go back to that first special interest again. I would say I have 3-4 strong interests that I alternate between. I find it hard to focus on more than one interest at the time. If I don't focus a lot on an activity and spend a lot of time doing it I lose interest in it. Generally, I think being moderate is a neurotypical trait.


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Twiglet
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21 Oct 2023, 7:06 am

Quote:
I find it hard to focus on more than one interest at the time.

I think that sums me up very well.



jamie0.0
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21 Oct 2023, 7:24 pm

i'm also lacking in special interests
i know a variety of facts, but not enough to form a coherent info dump as some of my aspie friends could

i do not think the lack of specal interests disqualify you from an accurate ASD diagnosis although it could be a symptom in someone who displays other traits of autism



colliegrace
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21 Oct 2023, 10:02 pm

The answer is no.

However, I think all that need apply for a special interest is that you have an intense obsession with it. The details of that don't matter quite so much, so long as it's like.... something intense. Short-lived interests count.


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FleaOfTheChill
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21 Oct 2023, 10:25 pm

I dunno.

I go back and forth on if I have special interests or not. I know I get really into things now and then, but I doubt I'm an expert at any of those things. My interests never seem intense enough or last long enough to become all that. I also have times where I'm not all that into anything at all. Point being, I'm not sure if I have them and I am autistic.

Besides my personal stuff, the dsm doesn't say you have to meet all the criteria anyway. Some of us will check some boxes, and not others. We are a diverse lot.



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22 Oct 2023, 12:36 am

DSM 5 Diagnostic Criteria for 299.00 Autism Spectrum Disorder

Quote:
To meet diagnostic criteria for ASD according to DSM-5, a child must have persistent deficits in each of three areas of social communication and interaction (see A.1. through A.3. below) plus at least two of four types of restricted, repetitive behaviors (see B.1. through B.4. below).

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history

1.Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat same food every day).

3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).

4. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g. apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).

Bolding=mine


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22 Oct 2023, 1:10 am

I've always had a few special interests.
Things that I've had a liking for as a kid that come back to me intensely for periods of time.
Mostly I tend to read about them intensively online but as I get older don't feel the need to acquire the gear concerning them.
I don't think of it as that much different to NTs who go through a phase like buying an expensive sports car or a set of fancy golf clubs and all of the accessories. In fact people like this make the best sellers to buy stuff from if it's indeed your interest. The guy who went through a phase 5 years ago and spend thousands on kit you can buy his gear for 50 bucks on Gumtree or a garage sale.



Patrick22348
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22 Oct 2023, 5:34 am

I have a special interest of managing the use of cannon fodders, low quality troops and other related filths in war strategy games.

I enjoy watching them die, and being able to send them in the "gates", so to speak.

Because of this interest, I have sub interests like, how Russia uses cannon fodders in Ukraine, how to use human wave assaults in battle, etc.


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colliegrace
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22 Oct 2023, 6:04 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
DSM 5 Diagnostic Criteria for 299.00 Autism Spectrum Disorder
Quote:
To meet diagnostic criteria for ASD according to DSM-5, a child must have persistent deficits in each of three areas of social communication and interaction (see A.1. through A.3. below) plus at least two of four types of restricted, repetitive behaviors (see B.1. through B.4. below).

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history

1.Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat same food every day).

3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).

4. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g. apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).

Bolding=mine

Criteria B is so much more cut and dried to pinpoint in myself than criteria A.


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y-pod
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24 Oct 2023, 4:53 am

According to what I read, special interest is not a requirement for the diagnosis. I've had so many special interests (only one at a time but always temporary) people assume I know about everything. :D

Often when I'm into something I just can't stop obsessing about it. I'd want to tell everyone about it with much passion. But in a couple days my interest could fade or switch. When I think about the same thing I wonder how anybody could find it interesting. My latest interests are light bulbs and soap bars. They're just like magic. :D I think I have the heart of a 6 year old who's in awe of how everything works. My husband knows this and tolerate my talking about seemingly mundane stuff. He knows he wouldn't need to suffer them for too long. :)


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ImagineDragons
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24 Oct 2023, 7:10 am

Speaking from experience ( myself and hundreds of autistic teenagers)


I’d say yes … autistic people will have at least one special interest/obsession


I have many obsessions which is AMAZING but absolutely exhausting .



Weight Of Memory
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24 Oct 2023, 7:44 am

I think special interests can be affected by other factors.

If you have ADHD in addition to autism you will probably shift between several interests. Higher levels of ASD probably trends toward more intense interests.

If your memory isn't as great or you have dyscalculia then memorizing statistics or other numerical data is a lot less likely.



ImagineDragons
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24 Oct 2023, 10:34 am

Weight Of Memory wrote:
I think special interests can be affected by other factors.

If you have ADHD in addition to autism you will probably shift between several interests. Higher levels of ASD probably trends toward more intense interests.

If your memory isn't as great or you have dyscalculia then memorizing statistics or other numerical data is a lot less likely.

Yes that makes perfect sense as my grown up daughter recently tested positive for ADHD and she reckons I’m more ADHD than her ! !

I’ve also got a dreadfully poor memory for most things especially short term but a good for things that intrigue me



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24 Oct 2023, 11:13 am

I definitely do. I can name all of the 180-some Touhou Project characters, their backstories, and what game they debuted in from Touhou 6 (2002) to Touhou 19 (2023), but I still have trouble memorizing the characters from 1-5 because they're hard to access due to being made for the PC-9800 series of Japanese computers. I can even guess them by their ability (all Touhou characters have their own unique ability e.g. healing throat illnesses, controlling density, reversing anything, mind-controlling others with tobacco smoke, controlling boundaries metaphorical and physical, etc.)

I can name every game in order as well as the print works and maybe the music CDs. I wouldn't say I know EVERYTHING about Touhou but I do know a loooot.

I've had this special interest for about two years with no signs of stopping. before that was a period with no complete special interest, and a few years before that my special interest was Beyblade.


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