Actually Aspling’s Focused Interests

I wanted to write an honest blog post all about my focused interests. But before I could do that I wanted to address my change in terminology.

I’ve replaced the word special with focused. From the outside looking in the term ‘special interest’ has a negative connotation and I wanted to change that.

From a Neurotypical lens the phrase special interests brings up a whole host of negative words including obsession, which is seen as a bad thing.

But in my eyes my interests bring me a huge amount of autistic joy, they are something I celebrate, not something I should be ashamed of.

Now, I’m not saying I created this, or that I coined the term ‘focused interests’ because honestly I have no idea if anyone uses/used it before I started talking about it. I genuinely have no clue.

But I’m here and I’m going to use it. It came about when I was trying to define Autism for my PhD. I wanted a definition that matched my views, that reflected how I see Autism as an Autistic adult.

That is when I decided to replace the word special and restricted to focused. To add a different pleasant word, to change the narrative. I wanted to use my voice to promote positive change.

With that I started using focused interests in place of special. And from here on out it is what I will be choosing to use.

Disclaimer: again, as stated I’m not saying I coined this term, because I honestly don’t know if anyone else did, I have no idea. I just wrote it and came up with it when writing my new (own) definition for my studies.

And as always, stay awesome!

Aspling x

3 thoughts on “Actually Aspling’s Focused Interests”

  1. Terminology can be so important. In my own blogging, I sometimes say “hobby/special interest” in deference to the fact that people know the latter term, but don’t normalize it like the former. Focused interest might be a nice midpoint.

  2. I don’t agree that special interest has a negative connotation. Apart from its usage for autistic people, I’ve most often heard it used to refer to “special interest groups”, which are charities that lobby for political changes – eg MADD lobbying for stricter DUI penalties, stuff like that. It’s a neutral term in that context, because a special interest group could be lobbying for good or bad things.

  3. Everyone is open to use the terms they see fit in terms of their own personal experience, I myself prefer this. This is entirely opinion based. But I do see your point and it is valid.

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