Laina on why the word ‘obsession’ needs to be dropped from usage in relation to autistic people – she is spot on as usual…
The diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s/autism includes the tendency toward:
“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).”
…At least, as described by those with cultural authority (a topic that will in itself be the focus of a future post).
(That criterion is Part B-3, for the curious.)
This is often shorthand-termed “special interest”, by some on and off the spectrum, and although I’ve used this term myself, you’ll see that it’s usually enclosed in quote marks, which I intend to indicate that although it’s a common and recognizable term, I don’t particularly like it.
For the record, I prefer terms such as “niche specialty”, “subject area of expertise”, “topic/subject of interest”, and so on. (Don’t those sound more dignified, not to mention more accurate?). Mix and match Dignified Terms until your heart’s content…
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