My Autism and ‘Special Interests’

Since telling more people around me about my autism diagnosis, I’ve had a fair few people unknowingly say pretty shitty stuff to me. I know it’s not intentional, it’s just a lack of knowledge, so I don’t get upset about it, but the one that I’ve had said to me a few times that really pisses me off is ‘but you don’t like trains/planes/boats/any ‘typical’ autism interest’. It pisses me off because it’s possibly the least true thing in the world.

My special interests were one of the first clues that made me think i might be autistic. They’re a huge part of who I am, what I do, and my daily life, but because they’re not what people expect autistic special interests to be, they’re just disregarded.

Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who were my first ever special interests that I remember, both beginning back when I was eight years old. Here we are fifteen years later and I still watch both regularly, read up about them, follow all the actors etc. I really can’t imagine ever not deeply loving these things.

This is where it gets really autistic, so buckle in. The only strong special interest I’ve developed since then is the Foo Fighters, and between Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, The X Filesand the Foo’s, I can explain to you exactly how 90% of the things I watch and the music I listen to tor’s back to those things. For example, while I write thing I’m watching Harvey Street Girls on Netflix, because it has Danny Pudi in it. I like Danny Pudi because he was in Community, which I watched because it had Robert Patrick in it, who I love because of The X Files, which I watched because Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters was in one episode for less than ten seconds.

And these connections just happen for me, they’re obvious and I enjoy them. I have more sort of ‘low key’ special interests too, and not everything I watch is for reasons like this, but a lot of the time if I’m watching something, it’s because it’s got an actor in from something else I like.

I know it’s not as impressive as the TV stereotype of being really into maths or astrophysics or something, and it’s probably only considered slightly cooler than having a notebook full of train sightings, but it’s something that makes me happy, something I can focus on for hours at a time, and how I know I’ll like something for at least one reason.

I’d love to hear about your special interests in the comments if you’re autistic too, I find it really interesting how so many of us have special interests that are similar in some ways and vastly different in others, and it’s always lovely to hear about the things people love!

-Dana


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