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Do you like the term "special interest"
Yes 71%  71%  [ 17 ]
No 25%  25%  [ 6 ]
Special what?...never heard about it. 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 24

Dandansson
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09 Jun 2021, 9:48 am

Is the term "specail interest" an informal or formal term? It seems very informal to me.
I find the term to be confusing and I was told by a professional to stop using it.
One of the reasons why I don't use it is that it says very little. Often people speak about how a special interest give people with ASD a lot of pleasure. I have never had an interests with only pleasure or enjoyment. It has always been filled with frustrations as well. This is why I say that I have never had a special interest.
Why do people use the term? Why can't we use other better terms? Do people with ASD need to have a spedial interest or is this just a stereotype? I have been told that it is a stereotype.
It's supposed to be a Shelter from the Storm but I can never hide from myself. If I have difficulties outside an interest I will have them inside the interest. Do you change when you go into a special interest?



PhosphorusDecree
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09 Jun 2021, 3:30 pm

It makes sense to me as an informal way to describe the intensity of focus I get on something the rest of the world couldn't care less about. Those of my special interests that involve actively doing stuff have involved a lot of frustration, but are also more rewarding long-term than the ones where I just passively absorb information.


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Dandansson
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10 Jun 2021, 1:34 am

PhosphorusDecree wrote:
It makes sense to me as an informal way to describe the intensity of focus I get on something the rest of the world couldn't care less about. Those of my special interests that involve actively doing stuff have involved a lot of frustration, but are also more rewarding long-term than the ones where I just passively absorb information.

you like the term since it is a positive term?
What kind of frustration are you talking about?
With my interest the social aspects have been difficult. Teachers weren't exactly easy to deal with. They often gave me to difficult tasks/exercices when I had difficulties with the basics. I also had problems learning the basics. When I could not even sing Twinkle twinkle little star (I am a musician) correctly I got really frustrated like if I were a very young child. I never grew out of my childishness.



dragonsanddemons
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10 Jun 2021, 1:49 am

The term “special interest” seems a bit patronizing to me, but I tend to default to it because it usually results in less debating of terminology with others. For me, “obsession” really is the right word, no question about it. I don’t choose them, I even occasionally get ones I don’t like (for example a song or band I actually dislike but feel compelled to listen to and focus on for a week, or a movie I absolutely never want to see but feel compelled to look up every scrap of information I can get about it). They vary in intensity, from “it catches my attention” to “every single thought I have in a day in some way pertains to it” (although none ever completely go away, they stay at least at the attention-getting level, and are liable to rise to the forefront at any time). “Obsession” much better describes my lack of choice and how intense it can get.


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Yet in my new wildness and freedom I almost welcome the bitterness of alienage. For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.
-H. P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider"

When you assume, it makes an a** out of u and me.


Dandansson
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10 Jun 2021, 2:16 am

dragonsanddemons wrote:
The term “special interest” seems a bit patronizing to me, but I tend to default to it because it usually results in less debating of terminology with others. For me, “obsession” really is the right word, no question about it. I don’t choose them, I even occasionally get ones I don’t like (for example a song or band I actually dislike but feel compelled to listen to and focus on for a week, or a movie I absolutely never want to see but feel compelled to look up every scrap of information I can get about it). They vary in intensity, from “it catches my attention” to “every single thought I have in a day in some way pertains to it” (although none ever completely go away, they stay at least at the attention-getting level, and are liable to rise to the forefront at any time). “Obsession” much better describes my lack of choice and how intense it can get.

Patronizing? Why?
Do you get any enjoyment out of your intense focus on a band you don't really like?



dragonsanddemons
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10 Jun 2021, 9:48 am

Dandansson wrote:
dragonsanddemons wrote:
The term “special interest” seems a bit patronizing to me, but I tend to default to it because it usually results in less debating of terminology with others. For me, “obsession” really is the right word, no question about it. I don’t choose them, I even occasionally get ones I don’t like (for example a song or band I actually dislike but feel compelled to listen to and focus on for a week, or a movie I absolutely never want to see but feel compelled to look up every scrap of information I can get about it). They vary in intensity, from “it catches my attention” to “every single thought I have in a day in some way pertains to it” (although none ever completely go away, they stay at least at the attention-getting level, and are liable to rise to the forefront at any time). “Obsession” much better describes my lack of choice and how intense it can get.

Patronizing? Why?
Do you get any enjoyment out of your intense focus on a band you don't really like?


I really don’t know exactly why, maybe in part because it really downplays it for me. I do not get anything like enjoyment out of the ones I don’t like, although I do hyperfocus on them.


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Yet in my new wildness and freedom I almost welcome the bitterness of alienage. For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.
-H. P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider"

When you assume, it makes an a** out of u and me.


funeralxempire
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10 Jun 2021, 9:52 am

It's just a nicer way of saying fixations. Personally I prefer to use the term fixations when describing my own although I'll try to use special interest to describe others; I've used both terms over the years.


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Dandansson
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10 Jun 2021, 6:23 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
It's just a nicer way of saying fixations. Personally I prefer to use the term fixations when describing my own although I'll try to use special interest to describe others; I've used both terms over the years.

Can we also say intense interest?



Dandansson
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10 Jun 2021, 6:31 pm

dragonsanddemons wrote:
Dandansson wrote:
dragonsanddemons wrote:
The term “special interest” seems a bit patronizing to me, but I tend to default to it because it usually results in less debating of terminology with others. For me, “obsession” really is the right word, no question about it. I don’t choose them, I even occasionally get ones I don’t like (for example a song or band I actually dislike but feel compelled to listen to and focus on for a week, or a movie I absolutely never want to see but feel compelled to look up every scrap of information I can get about it). They vary in intensity, from “it catches my attention” to “every single thought I have in a day in some way pertains to it” (although none ever completely go away, they stay at least at the attention-getting level, and are liable to rise to the forefront at any time). “Obsession” much better describes my lack of choice and how intense it can get.

Patronizing? Why?
Do you get any enjoyment out of your intense focus on a band you don't really like?


I really don’t know exactly why, maybe in part because it really downplays it for me. I do not get anything like enjoyment out of the ones I don’t like, although I do hyperfocus on them.

I often focus on a question I really should not
focus on or I focus on it too much. I hate it. Too many questions and few answers.
Many people see fixation as something good that we need. It is not that simple. I don't trust people who want to see how we get enjoyment out of our fixations. That would be a stererotype. I do get some enjoyment but it is mostly when I don't hyperfixate.
How is hyperfixation something you do out of enjoyment? It is more like being forced to do something.



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10 Jun 2021, 6:44 pm

I had not heard of the term until a few weeks or months before I joined this site.

I did not realize that the term could relate to me until I posted some details about one of my two main lifelong hobbies and someone said "I think we've discovered his special interest". It never occurred to me that the depth I go to in the two hobbies I have, could be due to having them as an autism related special interest.

You see when I joined this site, I did not really think I could be autistic but I thought I was similar but more like someone who was inbetween? But I did not know what autism was and that I have quite a few traits. I never knew that they were traits! I just thought they were part of my very unique character.
I joined this site because I had traced a lifelong "Health issue" that may or may not have something to do with autism as things had been getting pretty despearate, so I was willing to research anything in order to find answers. I did not know they were called shutdowns and I had been suffering from burnouts. Yes, I knew the experiences, but I could not explain them or work out what was happening. Somehow I did not know? I had years and years and years of going round in circles and getting no where, and things had never been so bad, so when I joined this site I was desperate. It was like a last concentrated effort, and if it dis not work I was expecting to give up and die.

So when someone said that about me having a special interest, which I refer as my secondary special interest, I actually liked the term because when I mentioned in the past about them being my hobby, most people who did not have hobbies thought I was wierd... But saying special interest means that people are more likely to take notice then just think "That guys wierd". Maybe this works better with the people around where I live and other countries or localities the term is thought of in a different way?

All I know is it works better for me then saying hobby or hobbies.



dragonsanddemons
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10 Jun 2021, 7:19 pm

Dandansson wrote:
dragonsanddemons wrote:
Dandansson wrote:
dragonsanddemons wrote:
The term “special interest” seems a bit patronizing to me, but I tend to default to it because it usually results in less debating of terminology with others. For me, “obsession” really is the right word, no question about it. I don’t choose them, I even occasionally get ones I don’t like (for example a song or band I actually dislike but feel compelled to listen to and focus on for a week, or a movie I absolutely never want to see but feel compelled to look up every scrap of information I can get about it). They vary in intensity, from “it catches my attention” to “every single thought I have in a day in some way pertains to it” (although none ever completely go away, they stay at least at the attention-getting level, and are liable to rise to the forefront at any time). “Obsession” much better describes my lack of choice and how intense it can get.

Patronizing? Why?
Do you get any enjoyment out of your intense focus on a band you don't really like?


I really don’t know exactly why, maybe in part because it really downplays it for me. I do not get anything like enjoyment out of the ones I don’t like, although I do hyperfocus on them.

I often focus on a question I really should not
focus on or I focus on it too much. I hate it. Too many questions and few answers.
Many people see fixation as something good that we need. It is not that simple. I don't trust people who want to see how we get enjoyment out of our fixations. That would be a stererotype. I do get some enjoyment but it is mostly when I don't hyperfixate.
How is hyperfixation something you do out of enjoyment? It is more like being forced to do something.


Yes, it is absolutely not a good thing for me, for the most part. I often don’t get much enjoyment out of it, aside from not feeling the overwhelming urge to do something related to my current obsession since I’m already doing it. It’s more like time just vanishes for me. I do also have it happen where I look for the answer to one question and have five more from that, and then more from each of those, and so on. And it is really not a good thing to fixate on one thing to the complete exclusion of all else, which is the level I tend to get to.

I do see a lot of stuff about how these “special interests” are a great thing career-wise, with jobs that pertain to it or use related skills, and I just get jealous because none of mine are even anything that can be useful. It was very problematic in college, how much time I’d spend just watching The X-Files over and over (yes, through all nine seasons, repeatedly) (granted I was also entirely unaccustomed to actually needing to study and went in with exactly zero study skills, but that’s a whole nother topic). And everything I get fully obsessed with is just as pointless, anything that might possibly be beneficial is far too narrow to actually be so, if nothing else. I have enough genuine interest in some to keep them going for longer than a week, but certainly not all of them, and do far more time-wasting than actual enjoying.


_________________
Yet in my new wildness and freedom I almost welcome the bitterness of alienage. For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.
-H. P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider"

When you assume, it makes an a** out of u and me.


funeralxempire
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10 Jun 2021, 7:48 pm

Dandansson wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
It's just a nicer way of saying fixations. Personally I prefer to use the term fixations when describing my own although I'll try to use special interest to describe others; I've used both terms over the years.

Can we also say intense interest?


I don't get to tell you what you call things, so yeah. 8)


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10 Jun 2021, 10:49 pm

i'm the only one i know of IRL who is interested in DES techniques.



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11 Jun 2021, 1:01 am

No problem with the term here. I don't know who the "professional" thinks (s)he is to tell anybody not to say it.

Unlike a lot of jargon terms, it's reasonably self-evident what it means (at least roughly), which is always a refreshing change from some of the obscure crap they dream up. I never like having to learn and remember new terms. It's in fairly common use. I'm not wary of the connotations of the word "special" (i.e. that some people use it as a euphemism for "retarded"). To me it just means a specialisation, it smacks of expertise, and I like the in-depth nature of expertise much better than the glib, half-baked apology for understanding a subject that many people pass off as knowing about it.

I prefer that to "obsessional interest" which has a bit of a pathological undertone to it, as if it's something to be discouraged. My special interests may have a downside as well as benefits, but no more than any other activity does. It's not a madness. It's often hard to pull away from one, but not impossible, and I think a lot of the difficulty is more to do with my "sticky brain wiring" that can get stuck on practically anything I happen to turn my attention to, whether or not I happen have turned it into a super-hobby.



Dandansson
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11 Jun 2021, 3:11 am

dragonsanddemons wrote:
Dandansson wrote:
dragonsanddemons wrote:
Dandansson wrote:
dragonsanddemons wrote:
The term “special interest” seems a bit patronizing to me, but I tend to default to it because it usually results in less debating of terminology with others. For me, “obsession” really is the right word, no question about it. I don’t choose them, I even occasionally get ones I don’t like (for example a song or band I actually dislike but feel compelled to listen to and focus on for a week, or a movie I absolutely never want to see but feel compelled to look up every scrap of information I can get about it). They vary in intensity, from “it catches my attention” to “every single thought I have in a day in some way pertains to it” (although none ever completely go away, they stay at least at the attention-getting level, and are liable to rise to the forefront at any time). “Obsession” much better describes my lack of choice and how intense it can get.

Patronizing? Why?
Do you get any enjoyment out of your intense focus on a band you don't really like?


I really don’t know exactly why, maybe in part because it really downplays it for me. I do not get anything like enjoyment out of the ones I don’t like, although I do hyperfocus on them.

I often focus on a question I really should not
focus on or I focus on it too much. I hate it. Too many questions and few answers.
Many people see fixation as something good that we need. It is not that simple. I don't trust people who want to see how we get enjoyment out of our fixations. That would be a stererotype. I do get some enjoyment but it is mostly when I don't hyperfixate.
How is hyperfixation something you do out of enjoyment? It is more like being forced to do something.


Yes, it is absolutely not a good thing for me, for the most part. I often don’t get much enjoyment out of it, aside from not feeling the overwhelming urge to do something related to my current obsession since I’m already doing it. It’s more like time just vanishes for me. I do also have it happen where I look for the answer to one question and have five more from that, and then more from each of those, and so on. And it is really not a good thing to fixate on one thing to the complete exclusion of all else, which is the level I tend to get to.

I do see a lot of stuff about how these “special interests” are a great thing career-wise, with jobs that pertain to it or use related skills, and I just get jealous because none of mine are even anything that can be useful. It was very problematic in college, how much time I’d spend just watching The X-Files over and over (yes, through all nine seasons, repeatedly) (granted I was also entirely unaccustomed to actually needing to study and went in with exactly zero study skills, but that’s a whole nother topic). And everything I get fully obsessed with is just as pointless, anything that might possibly be beneficial is far too narrow to actually be so, if nothing else. I have enough genuine interest in some to keep them going for longer than a week, but certainly not all of them, and do far more time-wasting than actual enjoying.

We have "doing something out of enjoyment" and "doing something because you are forced to do so". The latter has to do with hyperfixations.
I don't really know if people use ther term to refer to the same thing. I myself use the term to refer to something that is forcing me to do something rather than me choosing it. I often fixate on what I am interested in but I do hyperfixate on it in a way that leads to more questions than answers. I am too anxious even if I have no anxiety disorder.

funeralxempire wrote:
Dandansson wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
It's just a nicer way of saying fixations. Personally I prefer to use the term fixations when describing my own although I'll try to use special interest to describe others; I've used both terms over the years.

Can we also say intense interest?


I don't get to tell you what you call things, so yeah. 8)

I am only asking if you find it a good term? Or if you find it problematic.

ToughDiamond wrote:
No problem with the term here. I don't know who the "professional" thinks (s)he is to tell anybody not to say it.

Unlike a lot of jargon terms, it's reasonably self-evident what it means (at least roughly), which is always a refreshing change from some of the obscure crap they dream up. I never like having to learn and remember new terms. It's in fairly common use. I'm not wary of the connotations of the word "special" (i.e. that some people use it as a euphemism for "retarded"). To me it just means a specialisation, it smacks of expertise, and I like the in-depth nature of expertise much better than the glib, half-baked apology for understanding a subject that many people pass off as knowing about it.

I prefer that to "obsessional interest" which has a bit of a pathological undertone to it, as if it's something to be discouraged. My special interests may have a downside as well as benefits, but no more than any other activity does. It's not a madness. It's often hard to pull away from one, but not impossible, and I think a lot of the difficulty is more to do with my "sticky brain wiring" that can get stuck on practically anything I happen to turn my attention to, whether or not I happen have turned it into a super-hobby.

How do I know if I have a special interest? I seem to have interests but it doesn't seem like an obsession eventhough I do fixate too much on certain question in my interests that I probaby shouldn't fixate on.
Are there criteria for "special interest"?



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11 Jun 2021, 8:32 am

Dandansson wrote:
How do I know if I have a special interest? I seem to have interests but it doesn't seem like an obsession eventhough I do fixate too much on certain question in my interests that I probaby shouldn't fixate on.
Are there criteria for "special interest"?

According to the received wisdom of the DSM, part of the diagnostic criteria for ASD is:
"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)."

I guess that's what the term "special interest" means. As the diagnostic criteria are somewhat subjective (where do they draw the line about "highly," "abnormal," "strong," and "excessive?"), it would seem difficult to know where a cherished hobby ends and a special interest begins, and there must be cases of strong interests for which even the wisest diagnostician in the world couldn't be certain. Just as with a borderline case of ASD itself, we can never know for sure. (continued........)