One thing that is common all over the Spectrum is having a very highly-specialized interest in one or two subjects. For me, that highly-specialized interest is ancient and Medieval weapons. Ever since I was younger, I’ve been fascinated with lightsabers, swords, bows and arrows, what have you, and that interest gradually led me to collecting different types of swords, even bows and a Viking hand-ax. Yet, despite all that, something was still missing.
In recent years my interest in weapons has introduced me to blade-smithing, even forging my own knife from a railroad spike with the help of a local blacksmith.
Since then, I’ve begun setting up my very own forge in our backyard (of the house, not the apartment), procuring various tools needed to very soon make my own weapons. It should also be mentioned that I took a short blacksmithing class in grade school with a friend and ever since then I started making my own swords out of bits of metal, primarily using a hacksaw and cold-hammering soft metal piping.
Now, let me take a moment to slow down and explain why I call this a specialized interest rather than an obsession and how it can be unhelpful for an Aspie or anyone else on the spectrum to be told to find a different hobby or interest. For one, I call it an interest because it is, and I plan to turn that interest into a regular practice which will benefit me in the long run. Second, from what I see, it is actually not beneficial for parents, teachers or peers to tell their student or child that they need to branch out extensively when in reality, they developed that interest for a reason. Famous examples of this include Steven Spielberg, Einstein, and most recently, Anthony Hopkins, to name a few. All of these men (and women) showed talent or interest in a very specific subject and look what they’ve given us!
All this to say, I implore friends and family of Aspies and others on the Spectrum to encourage development of the person’s special interest and not call it an obsession that needs to be discouraged, as you never know what they will accomplish in childhood and/or adulthood when they know you care and are willing to support them.