One of the most fascinating characteristics of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is their special interests. From a psychology perspective, these interests are a wealth of information and they allow us to find each person’s strength and what drives them.
As a positive psychologist who specializes in individuals with ASD, I always interview my clients to find out what interests them. As soon as I do, it puts our relationship in a flow state, automatically enabling our relationship to feel more comfortable and engaged. So many ASD individuals have been beaten down by professionals trying to fix them, when we should open up our eyes and ears and really listen to them and all the innate gifts and talents they have to share with the world. I have built so many fabulous relationships with these kids and adults. This experience has been a turning point for me. The wonderful lessons I continue to learn have shifted my focus on getting all of these wonderful individuals heard, and to launch them into the world the way they respectively deserve to be. Rather than wasting time trying to overcome their deficits, let’s start focusing our research on enhancing their talents and gifts, and build upon their preferred interests. Society lumps ASD individuals together as a disease, when in fact, it is a manifestation of neurodiversity — it is a condition that can be enhanced into something beautiful, a beautiful mind that can establish each person’s full potential and growth, while teaching and showcasing their talents and self-education to the world. (Many ASD individuals are truly gifted autodidacts in their areas of interest!)
We encourage all of you to participate in Autisticana, and we welcome your perceptions as you will learn the true gifts and innate wisdom that each individual has to offer. This blog and my work is all about bringing special interests into the forefront, and using them as inspiration and motivation in the rapidly changing and unfortunately-stifled world we are living in. Special interests should not be used as a reward for good behavior for people with ASD (or anyone); instead, they should be seen as a way to reduce anxiety and stress, so that we all live in a culture of happiness and productivity. I hope this blog brings your special interests to the table, for the sake of your happiness, as well as expanding all of us as a team on a journey to greatness — a unique journey that leads us to create wonderful moments, wonderful careers, and a wonderful future in all facets of life.
“Love what you do and do what you love and the world will be a better place…”
Dr. Christine Grimaldi