What Determines a Special Interest?


What Determines a Special Interest?

On the spectrum, there is something called “Freight Train Brain” (at least that’s what I call it) where somebody can really get into an activity.

These activities could be stamp collecting, coin collecting, Pokemon, Lego, Star Wars, Magic: The Gathering, etc.

Those on the spectrum tend to “zone-in” on that interest for hours, and hours, and hours. When this happens, the rest of the world just falls away.


Related: Understanding Special Interests


Individuals can go 20 hours building a Lego set without eating.

A special interest it not just an interest that is temporary. For example, those with special interests won’t say “I’m really interested in this thing”, they would say “this is MY thing.”

Throughout childhood, these interests will shift from thing to thing. And in the teenage years, it starts to coalesce, typically around what it is they’re going to be doing in the adult years.

Watch other videos in our Psych in 60 series to learn more about Aspergers and leave your questions in the comments below!

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Dr. Frank Gaskill
Dr. Frank Gaskill is a licensed psychologist and co-founder of Southeast Psych, Psych Bytes, and Shrink Tank. He works with individuals on the Autism spectrum and consults on the development of Autism programs and private practice development across the country. Dr. Gaskill is the co-author of Max Gamer: Aspie Superhero as well as How We Built Our Dream Practice: Innovative Ideas for Building Yours.


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