The Care and Feeding of your Aspie Uncategorized

The Care and Feeding of Your Aspie: Part 62 – A bit more on special interests

I should write a great deal… Let me reword that… I should write more on THIS series.

But I can’t.

Let me explain… Writing is one of my “Special Interests.” I discuss the basics of Special Interests HERE. As previously discussed, special interests are obsessive in nature and release hormones that create a sense of pleasure, satisfaction and well being in your Aspie. And writing is one of my LIFE-LONG interests… That means that it is a special interest that never faded. So… Simply put, I can’t NOT write. I HAVE to write.

The problem is not with writing, but focusing on one thing TO write. To give you an idea – at this moment I have one play script, this series, two partly completed novels, the revisions on two other novels, and a couple film scripts I am working on. So, you can see, I am constantly writing.

The biggest problem I have with writing on this series is that I want each and every one to be SUPERB. I research them, compose my thoughts, discuss with other Aspies, discuss with my pet NTs, and then write them.

I’ll let you in on a secret: Including this entry, there are 63 issues for The Care and Feeding of Your Aspie (Please note there are two issue 21s). I have written three times as many and discarded two thirds of them. I know, you have to be asking yourself – “HOW BAD WERE THE OTHERS IF THESE WERE THE BEST OF THEM!?” Let me tell you… They were bad.

And that’s why I felt that this would be a good part of the series.

Not a day goes by that I don’t write. Compulsively. I can’t help it. And that is the way it is with special interests… we just do it.

Most people don’t realize that there are a couple different kinds of special interests… Well, that’s not true. There are a lot of kinds of special interests, but most of them can be relegated to one of three categories – Learning Interests, Collecting Interests and Skill Interests. I’ll explain that a little.

Learning Interests:
Learning Interests are pretty simple. Your Aspie finds a topic of subject that GRABS his mind with an iron grip and won’t let go. While the endorphins last your Aspie will absorb every piece of information on the topic that they can find. They will devour texts, websites, books, videos, DVDs, and input from experts in the field. Within a very short time, your Aspie will become a veritable expert on the subject. They can write essays, wikipedia articles or books on the topic. But it is all about the information and collecting it.

Collecting Interests:
Collecting Interests are a lot like Learning Interests – but it is things, not information that we have become fixated on. Whether it be My Little Pony, Star Wars Figures, or Skylanders, your Aspie will want EVERY ONE OF THEM. I discuss my Collecting Interest in Skylanders HERE. >>>WARNING – ADULT LANGUAGE<<< Comics, action figures, beanie babies… Anything that is limited edition and collectible can be the focus of a Collecting Interest.

Skill Interests:
These are, in my opinion, the interests that are most likely to be life long interests for your Aspie. Skill interests are a little hard to understand from within the Special Interest paradigm. Unlike the other types of interests – Skill Interests are all about DOING something. The following are examples of Skill Interests (each of these is an example from Aspies I know or have spoken with) – Training Dogs; Making 2d JRPGs; Coding PHP for websites; Writing. These interests make your Aspie a highly skilled, specialist of an individual.

I have a few collecting interests, a few Information interests and a lot of skill interests… I don’t know if that makes me odd – as Aspies go, or not.

I know I have talked about special interests and the need to encourage them in the past, but I cannot reiterate this need, enough. The pursuit of special interests is a mild or diluted OCD. They are Obsessive and Compulsory. If you have never experienced OCD, you really can’t understand what it is like. I try not to minimize other people’s experiences, but this is one time that I mean it… IF YOU’VE NEVER EXPERIENCED OCD, YOU CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO GRASP WHAT IT IS LIKE.

This scene in Scrubs is pretty damn close, however.

Kevin Casey (Michael J. Fox’s Character) could not stop washing his hands. I can’t stop writing, looking for that last skylander, shooting films and the like. And your Aspie can’t stop learning, talking about, collecting or doing whatever it is they do. We do what we do, because we have to some times.

The scene from scrubs is designed to evoke empathy for Kevin Casey. We don’t need that empathy, we don’t need someone to feel sorry for our interests. Unlike most OCD sufferers, we get the benefit of endorphins from it. So… revel in your Aspie’s special interests… We do.

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