Autism and Hobbies: Supporting Your Child’s Specialized Interests
Hobbies Look Different With Autism
If you have a loved one who has autism, you may have learned a lot of things along the way. One of those things may include your increased ability to understand and support your child’s passionate interests. Providing your child with encouragement is important when you find your child spending a lot of time on one hobby, food, game, or toy. This means that they are learning to explore their interests and may need support in their new journey! Autistic children have strong passions and attachments about certain things, and this blog post will give you a little more information about their interests.
What Is A Specialized Interest?
Due to differences in their brains, autistic people feel more passionately about the things they love and enjoy. This means they may prioritize or fixate on one specific subject. It is a level of enjoyment that neurotypical people may not be able to understand. For example, if your loved one finds an interest in trains, they may surround their life with that subject. They will want to bring up trains in every conversation, ask for toys specifically related to trains, and actively search for more information about trains. It may seem like they have become obsessed with learning and exploring everything there is to know about trains. When you notice these behaviors, it is important to remember that these interests can be a way for your child to regulate as well.
Identifying Your Child’s Special Interests
Every child expresses interest in their own ways, but there may be a few ways you can recognize when a special interest has captivated them. Below are some ways you can detect which interests holds your child's attention:
● Lining up objects in a uniform line or systematic way
● Preserving artifacts, toys, or books that are related to their area of interest
● Not willing to try to explore new interests
● Focusing on the area of interest when faced with challenges or uncomfortable situations
● Participating in the interests with little restraint or difficulty
How You Can Support Them
Autistic children are incredibly creative when it comes to their special interests. They consistently find new ways to learn, explore, and understand what they find fascinating. Supporting these interests is the perfect way to show your child how much their world means to you! By allowing them to fully develop and mold their passion, you are encouraging their creative abilities and prioritizing their needs. Special interests are not always a hobby that they pick up and drop within a matter of weeks. These interests are curate, take lots of time, and is crucial to their mental and emotional health. Giving them the space to research and investigate what truly captivates them will foster their decision-making and independent thinking skills. Additionally, some special interests facilitate motor skill development so they can practice movement while playing. There are so many benefits that come with children exploring their special interests. They bring a new level of personality, engagement, and innovation. You may even find they are able to talk and engage in a deeper conversation when they are talking about their passions! Fostering your child with a genuine attitude can be the kickstart that your child needs to fully develop their dedication.
Celebrate Their Individuality Today
Celebrating your child’s individuality can be the thing that brings you closer than ever. Showing interest in their passions, participating in their play, and engaging conversation about their interests are all ways of expressing your desire to support what makes them happy. Making the extra effort to be an active role in their interests will build their trust in you, and you may find that you are able to connect with your child at a deeper level.
If you believe that your child is demonstrating any of these behaviors, please feel free to reach out to us at PEARS, PLLC so we can discover what makes your child unique. With the proper diagnosis, you can gain the knowledge and resources necessary to give your child the support they need.