Despite all of the positives that can come from special interests, it is still argued that they can have a negative impact on the lives of people with autism. Even those who acknowledge the positive aspects feel that there are also down sides. This article looks at what some of the more negative aspects of special interests might be.
People say that rather than something being a special interest, what a lot of people with autism have is an obsession. This can be with one particular subject that might last a life-time, or a series of special interests that might only last for a few months each. The argument is that rather than just having a healthy passion for a particular subject, autistic people can often let their special interest take over every element of their life, and become obsessed with it. This also leads to the argument that it can be unhealthy, and that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for other things, or people in a person`s life. A person who has an extreme special interest can also find it difficult to communicate with others as often all they will talk about is their particular interest. This can lead to them being regarded as being irritating, and make what might be already difficult social situations even more awkward, and unfulfilling for them.
Some people claim that it can impact on a child`s education; if they have a special interest that is so strong that they don’t wish to learn about anything else. This is a particular problem if the special interest is not something that is educational in itself – though it is possible to take any subject, and use it for educational purposes. Along similar lines, it has also been claimed that special interests get in the way of family relationships; family days out can often be ruined by the fact that one member might only want to go to a particular place that caters for their special interest, and will never feel happy going anywhere else. This can create tension between family members. And it can also be difficult for parents to try to motivate their child, especially at times such as birthdays or Christmas where they may take no interest in cards and presents that aren’t to do with their special interest.
Even though at times special interests can help to launch careers, they can also hinder them. As with education, people can often limit themselves when it comes to the type of job they will be willing to do, due to the fact that they don’t tie-in to their special interest. If this is taken in conjunction with the fact that their education may have been limited, it could lead to serious problems later on in life.
It seems that there may be a certain amount of negatives to having a special interest – if it goes unchecked it could limit education, and job opportunities, and it can also be problematic when it comes to social situations that might already be difficult. Overall, it seems that people who argue against them may make some valid points, but are special interests a completely negative thing, or are they largely positive? Part 1 on the positives can be found here. The next, and final article will try to find this out and can be read here.