Autistic people are famed for their ‘obsessions’. Be it washing machines, vacuum cleaners or dinosaurs (hell yeah, dinosaurs!!), having obsessions is seen as an autistic trait.

And therefore, it’s something unhealthy. Or at the very least, deficient.

I wrote this article in 2015 but I’m using a cover photo from 2019.
Because seriously, I was geeking out so much at the sight of this actual STEGOSAURUS.

Now, people who hold those kind of obsessions usually struggle to articulate why they’re so appealing, or at least in ways that the other person can understand or relate to.

So allow me.

What is the difference between an interest and an obsession?

Well, to be cynical: normal people have ‘interests’. Autistic people have ‘obsessions’.

Sometimes they are one and the same- it’s other people’s perceptions that differ. Mainly because the way we express our love for things is less “normal” than the way others do.

For example, when I was about seven my main interest was dinosaurs. But whereas most young children would express their love of dinosaurs by pretend roaring and stomping around the playground, I expressed my love by telling people I wanted to be a palaeontologist (and telling them how to spell it), memorising geological eras from Precambrian to Pleistocene, learning Latin words so I knew what dinosaur names meant, and reaching the stage where I could grab a piece of paper and write down 91 different species by memory (yes, this happened when I was in Year 2 [first grade]).

If teachers had known about autism back then, I’m pretty sure this would have been an ‘autistic obsession’, rather than a legitimate interest.

This is pretty much my experience.

The above does sound rather cynical, but I have to admit other people’s perceptions do change for autistic people.

For example, during my time in education I ran 16 different chess tournaments in six different schools, and some of them became… er… slightly competitive. My record was running two clubs in two schools at once, each with 32 competitors. It was insane. And awesome. But mostly insane.

To those who did not know about my Asperger’s, my enthusiasm for chess was down to me being a chess geek. Among those who knew about my Asperger’s, there were a small number of adults I encountered who clearly believed it was an ‘autistic obsession’, rather than honest enthusiasm like other people have.

The man on the left is Magnus Carlsen, world chess champion. He has passion, enthusiasm and talent. The man on the right is Captain Quirk. He has an autistic obsession.

The man on the left is Magnus Carlsen, world chess champion. He has passion, enthusiasm and talent.
The man on the right is me (Chris Bonnello/Captain Quirk). He just has an autistic obsession.

Just to be clear, I love chess because it’s a chance to outsmart someone without even talking to them. I love chess because of its ruthless logic. I love it because there are literally trillions of ways you can play the first ten moves. And yes, I’ll also admit I love chess because I tend to win a lot. (And even if I don’t, it’s usually easy to learn from the games you lose.)

Most of all, I love chess because I’ve watched children go from hitting other kids in the playground because they don’t know how to deal with frustration, to solving the problem with their brain because they’ve learned the thought process of ‘if I go here, what’s going to happen next?’ I love chess because I’ve watched youngsters without much in the way of patience suddenly become patient people. I love chess because I’ve watched children become resilient, and learn how to lose but not give up anyway.

I do not love chess just because I’m autistic.

(In fact, I tried not to feel too insulted when people implied my chess clubs were done out of my own selfish interest, rather than the sheer amount of good they did for the youngsters. It was a tiny number of people who implied it, but tiny numbers can feel rather big.)

Be careful before discouraging ‘obsessions’.

When I was 13, I was still a proud fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. Not just the games either- I was still reading Sonic the Comic, despite being ‘far too old’ for it. There were plenty of people who wanted me to “just grow out of bloody Sonic, you’re not a kid anymore.”

But… why should I?

Back at that age I couldn’t properly express how much Sonic the Hedgehog changed my life. Thankfully now I can, so here goes.

Yes, this is New Sonic rather than Old Sonic. Sue me, I prefer the art even if not the games.

By complete coincidence, I’m wearing a Sonic shirt while writing this.

Sonic the Hedgehog made me an explorer.

Did you ever play those awesome Mega Drive [Sega Genesis] games? There were often a dozen different ways you could reach the signpost at the end. Not only did this give the gamer plenty of reasons to play again and again, but it influenced my curiosity. I applied this to the forests outside my house, until every single tree had been climbed, and every cliff face ascended and descended again.

(And then I went to school, where I was told that our generation never went outside because of games consoles.)

Sonic the Hedgehog made me a writer.

If Nigel Kitching ever reads this, he needs to know he’s a hero of mine. [Edit- rather beautifully, he did end up reading this. I was honoured.]

Sonic the Comic (Fleetway Comics) taught me that even comic strips could be gripping stories in their own right. Unlike the Beano, which I also loved, Sonic the Comic had some incredible plotlines, was big on character development, and valued storytelling over comedy. And bloody hell, could those writers tell a good story.

Looking back, I honestly think Sonic the Comic gave me a better understanding of writing than GCSE English ever did. English lessons taught me the writing skills, but Sonic the Comic taught me about the heart of writing.

Sonic the Hedgehog taught me never to give up.

In the world of Sonic the Comic, Doctor Robotnik conquered the world in issue #8. Pretty heavy start. Sonic and his friends didn’t liberate the world until issue #100, three and a half years later. During those three and a half years, I watched characters I loved fighting an insurmountable foe, never giving up as long as there were people they needed to defend.

Whilst I was being told to ‘grow out of Sonic’, I was reading the stories, busily learning moral principles that would stay with me into adulthood: not least, why it’s important to stand up for what’s right even if the odds are against you.

Sonic the Hedgehog made me a good cousin.

When I became a teenager, I had a young cousin who was just growing into Sonic. That brought us very close together, especially when I wrote stories for him. This was before the days of the internet so we only spoke on the phone once every few months and only met face to face a couple of times a year, but wow those times were awesome.

I’ll forever remember me and my cousin growing up together with a friendship partly based on Sonic. Yes, it was also based on the fact that we got on really well, but several nights of reading him Sonic stories (and getting Hyper Sonic before the end of Sandopolis) helped a lot.

Then he became a teenager, and found other interests. Around the same time, I had another younger cousin who was just growing into Sonic… same story again.

Doomsday... I loved this story so much. Still do.

Doomsday… issues 97-99. I loved this story so much.

If there’s one thing I want people to take away from this article, it’s this:

Instead of encouraging autistic people away from their obsessions, recognise them as actual legitimate interests which may be secretly doing them a world of good.

Especially when they look this good wearing the pyjamas.

Especially when they look this good wearing the pyjamas.

If you believe in parallel universes, there’ll be a universe where I obediently cast Sonic aside.

In that universe, I’m not starting an MA in Creative Writing because I never wrote all that fan-fiction that got me off the starting blocks. [2018 edit- I passed. With distinction. And a part of me thanks the Sonic the Hedgehog comics.]

In that universe, I never learned how to explore everywhere, whether locally or internationally.

In that universe, me and my young cousins aren’t very close because we never had much in common.

In that universe, I’m less willing to stand up for what’s right.

Next time you see an autistic child ‘obsessing’ over dinosaurs and you personally don’t like it, think about the parallel universe in the future where the child doesn’t become a palaeontologist.

We have the same love of things as everyone else. We just express it differently. And sometimes we rely on those interests more, especially if being popular in social groups is off the table. Losing an interest because of other people’s perceptions would simply be another reminder of why we’re not good enough.

And besides, dinosaurs are bloody awesome. Let us love them.


Chris Bonnello / Captain Quirk


Are you tired of characters with special needs being tokenised and based on stereotypes, or being the victims rather than the heroes? This novel series may interest you!

Underdogs, a near-future dystopia series where the heroes are teenagers with special needs, is a character-driven war story which pitches twelve people against an army of millions, balancing intense action with a deeply developed neurodiverse cast.

Book one can be found here:

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Chris Bonnello is a national and international autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).
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76 Responses

  1. Catana

    Another point worth thinking about. If you’re diagnosed as gifted, it’s accepted as natural for you to bury yourself in your interests. My whole life has been one of serial “obsessions.” Some I exhaust, but leave me with more knowledge about the world. Some I drop for a while and go back to. Some are lifelong.

    Great post!

    • CaptainQuirk

      Good point! 🙂 Burying yourself in such things, for however long, is perfectly natural. Regardless of how it’s seen by other.

      • fallopianteapot

        Hahaha I used to be obsessed with anime and manga. I’m really happy that I got out of it, but what helped me get out, was a story. Harry Potter. I have so much in common with the character (except I had good guardians), that it sometimes feels that there aren’t that many people who truly understand my mindset. I am now completely obsessed with fanfiction, as I have read close to 40 different ones and have around 20 different stories open in above links right now lol. But the craziest thing I have learned so far is that you can learn something, from anything. Even fictional stories, or spinoffs of fictional stories written by avid fans. As a history major, I love any type of story with a lot of history and lore (which helps include LoTR, HP, Star Wars and of course, The Lloyd Alexander series about a kid named Taran, and Game of Thrones.). Now as a history graduate I think, fanfiction has helped evolve my love of reading, and virtually all the spending money I have available goes out to books, in the hopes that I can become a scholar one day and teach others my viewpoint, just as you are doing now.

      • Scarlb12

        I’m not sure if you will see this comment, @fallopianteapot (not sure if tagging works here), but as you are interested in both history and Game of Thrones I thought I would recommend a writer I have really enjoyed, Steven Attewell, who does an excellent in-depth political and historical analysis of the Game of Thrones series. His site is He is currently in the process of writing a chapter by chapter analysis of the books from start to finish. His work has helped me get even more out of the books by providing real world historical parallels.

        Apologies to Chris for this off-topic comment. I enjoyed this post a lot. The line between interest and obsession, and which interests are considered socially acceptable, has always been interesting to me, as someone with my own fair share of obsessions.

  2. Desiree

    One thing my interest in Freddie Mercury has taught me is to never give up, no matter how dire the situation is. What has my interest in Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Roddy McDowell, and Bela Lugosi taught me? I’m gonna have to get back to you on that one! 😀

  3. Marie

    Thank you! You just described our son, and it feels so good to imagine him to grow in your steps. We fought since the beginnings (with the specialists, s, s, s, s, ….) over what they call an obsession, which is to us, a wonderful passion, interest! Our way to communicate, our way to bring his little sister to be interested in science, and so on!
    Ps: my son (8) an I are preparing a lettre to the author of Geronimo Stilton: he found 20 mistakes about dinosaurs in these books. 😉 As, for me, I found over 50 grammar and ponctuation mistakes. We’re having a blast doing so. 🙂
    Ps2: Sorry for the accent (it is French accent). 😉

    • CaptainQuirk

      “You just described our son, and it feels so good to imagine him to grow in your steps.”
      Awww, thank you! 😀 Give him a high five for me.

      That comment about finding 20 mistakes made me laugh out loud. 😀 (And to be fair, any book with 50 grammatical errors should probably be sent back to the publisher!”
      I actually wouldn’t have guessed you were French. I had no idea until the last line! 🙂 Your linguistic skills are just about perfect.

      Thanks again for reading!

    • Jennifer

      Haha. Reminds about me as a child.
      I used to get dinosaur books but when I read them, I realized that I already knew everything in them.

      I went to museums with dinosaurs exhibits and would scream ” NOOOO” Cause they got like 20 things wrong..
      Or when a mother asked her son something about a dinosaur and I gave them a lecture about it.

      Nowadays, dinosaurs arent my only interest and I don’t put as much time on them. But I never pass up on watching a documentary.
      I wish your son well and I’m happy that you see his interest as such a good thing.

      • CaptainQuirk

        Correcting the experts… an Aspie’s main specialism. 😀 I remember doing this all too well!

  4. Marlowe Bechmann

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to channel my daughters “interest” in keys. She is a 16 yo with minimal vocal approximations and emerging augmentative communication (she can type words but isn’t communicating her thoughts to us yet other than simple requests. She could play and jingle a set of keys for hours. Any thoughts on how I could channel that into something more “productive”?

    • CaptainQuirk

      Good question. A difficult one to answer without me knowing her academic capabilities (and, needless to say, knowing her as a person), but I can tell you what springs to mind.

      Keys are an extremely useful invention. She’d doubtless pay attention to anything that keys are used for, as long as the physical keys are there! Can she understand that these awesome jingly things also unlock doors and start cars? There’s huge potential for her to discover the “wider world” and interesting concepts like locking and unlocking, since it’s associated with something she’s already fixated on.

      I hope the advice is applicable or at least gives you ideas. Sonic the Hedgehog was useful to me because I was able to apply it to so many other areas of my life. Maybe keys can unlock doors for her both literally AND metaphorically! 😉

  5. premack daddy

    I’ve read a lot of blogs and come across plenty of articles about interests, pereseveration, and obsessions with autistic individuals, but I never expected to find one that referenced Sonic the Hedgehog…and definitely not in the context that you laid out. My son has gone through his fair share of obsessions starting well before his diagnosis, but the two things that have remained with him after all others have ran their course were flags/countries and Sonic. Always Sonic. He’ll be 5 this year, but has been reading Sonic comics since he started reading at 2. It’s not the storytelling and character development of Sonic the Comic (we’re on the Archie Comics series), but his fascination is just as real and engrossing. I just wanted to thank you for framing it in a way that not only resonated with us, but also gave us hope that these intense obsessions may one day open up doors we never imagined for him. We’ve always allowed his process to be self-guided, but always wondered how those things would translate once he got older and it was so refreshing and humbling to hear your story. Especially because we live and breathe Sonic. Haha

    • tixly

      When reading about your 7 year old self I felt like I was reading about my son at that age. I was lucky that there were a couple of teachers at his school that would give up their lunch breaks or spend time after school to help him pursue his interests even as they changed. Not so when he reached high school. He was treated as a nuisance and I had struggle to keep him in top classes so that he stood a chance of learning. One of my university lecturers grew up in communist Russia and was fascinated by my son. She told me that in her country, people like my son were given extra attention at school and their interest were encouraged and celebrated. They would teach these children differently to the main stream because they would struggle to learn like everyone else. Universities would eagerly take them in as they knew that they would likely become the experts in their field. I had to travel quite a twisted path to get my son into university as he did not have the marks to get in. I never gave up and he was taken into a top university to study archaeology. He is by no means an expert in his field but he was given the opportunity to use his talents. I hope others don’t give up and think they are a nuisance and not worth worrying about. We didn’t listen to all of ‘them’. I guess it helped that we knew what it was like for him as his grandfather and myself, his mum, also have AS though not so full on( if that is a way to explain it) as my son.

      • CaptainQuirk

        Wow, for once the Communists got it completely right! 😉
        It’s great to hear that your son had teachers who would give up their time for him- even if it didn’t carry on into high school, I’m sure that personalised approach when he was a child had an impact that stayed with him right into adulthood.
        And I hope I’m right in thinking that the tide is turning nowadays- that the more we understand Asperger’s and the more teachers are trained to deal with it, the less of a “nuisance” we’ll become. 😉

    • CaptainQuirk

      FLAGS! 😀 I used to adore flags and I still do- even now I can recognise almost every one in the world. Glad to hear your 4-year-old finds them awesome too. That and Sonic! High-five him for me. 🙂
      Thanks a lot for the compliments- it’s great to read appreciative words from people whose kids I can empathise with!

  6. Petra L

    My 3 year old son is Gifted and obsessed about Thomas the Tank Engine. To us, it’s his way of processing information in a way that limits the information overload that he gets. To her Nursery, its an unhealthy obsession that we should discourage so that he interacts with his peers all the time. Sigh.

    • CaptainQuirk

      That sounds all too familiar, right down to Thomas the Awesome Tank Engine. 😀

  7. Nigel Kitching

    This is Nigel Kitching and I just read what you said about me. So all I can say is thanks – it means a lot

    • CaptainQuirk

      Woah, are you serious? 😀 That’s incredible! How on Earth did you find me?

      Very, very grateful for the comment. You just made my weekend. 🙂 And thanks again for all you did through my childhood years.

      • Nigel Kitching

        Well, every now and again I just do a search for my name on Google. Mostly I just find links to wikis and so on. Sometimes I find people quoting something I’ve said (sometimes these quotes are inaccurate which is annoying). But now and again somebody says something nice about me and that’s always a treat.

    • CaptainQuirk

      Hi, sorry for the delayed reply.

      It’s a tricky one, but it may also be an opportunity for the child to learn valuable social skills. Learning concepts such as “personal space”, for example, are perhaps better learned while your daughter has a genuine interest in socialising. 🙂

      If you want (anonymously or not), I could post your comment to Autistic Not Weird’s Facebook page and ask the community for advice?

  8. Atley

    I’m all obsessed about facts. I have a huge database of them in my brain. I will cling on to a fact the second I hear it, but if I meet a new person it is likely they will hear facts that I had forgotten about simply because my brain has like, activated something that tells me that the person I am talking to does not know all these facts that I know.

    • CaptainQuirk

      haha, I could have written something similar! 😀 I’ve always found fact-collecting to be a useful hobby…. even if a lot of the facts are useless!

  9. Atzu

    I think all autistic obsessions are legitimate interests. Sure we put a lot more time and effort into our interests but honestly it makes us better at them. So what if its comic book characters, dinosaurs, chess, roleplaying games, or anything else? They all have their place in the world making it a better place, and we all need experts in the every field. If we didn’t have people obsessed with pretending to be someone they’re not, dress up, music, computers, make up, and dance the entire worlds of theatre, movies, music would come crashing down or at least they would never have become such a huge industries capable of cheering up, inspiring, rewarding, teaching and a miriad or other things billions of people worldwide. I’m not sure people should be discouraging even obsessions because you never know where they’ll lead and how much they may be needed. I think if people feel an obsession is leading someone down a dark or otherwise not great path then they need to learn more about the topic and where it is used to make the world a better place. Even if the only benefit the world got from dinosaurs was visitors and funding for museums as their sideshow attraction, that means museums have extra funding to use trying to learn more about our history so we know more about ourselves and what not to be doing.

    • CaptainQuirk

      That’s a really good way of phrasing it. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

  10. tadashi.hamada.isnt.dead

    As a kid, I loved dolls. All kinds. Still do, in fact! Now, however, I also love Marvel movies, Star Wars, Gravity Falls, and a myriad of other things. People in school often make fun of me behind my back for these things (it’s hilarious how they think I don’t know when really, the oblivious one is them for thinking I don’t notice), but honestly, those things help me. I’ve discovered a love of writing through the fanfiction archives (and multiple all-nighters oops), and I’ve made friends by bonding over fandoms. So in a way, I’m glad I’m not “normal”. Doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s not so bad.

    • CaptainQuirk

      As a former Sonic fan-fiction writer, and a fanboy of many awesome books/shows, I’m glad you’ve had the positive experience of them too. 😀

  11. Lucinda Ireland

    To me the difference is an obsession prevents the person from doing important things such as eating, sleeping and going to the toilet. A passion makes you want to skip these things but you don’t. I think both autistics and others can have either, it’s just that autistic people frequently(not always) fall into the obsession side of things.

  12. Teresa

    My grandson has a passion for trains for helicopters and for vacuums although he doesn’t enjoy the loud sounds of any of them. I get to enjoy listening to him tell me all the new things he has learned. He may only be 4 years of age but he has taught me so much. I was fortunate yet not so fortunate to be considered gifted while in school as females were not aspies. We allow my grandson to be the genius he knows he is and currently he plans to become a marine biologist. He wants to save the sawfish species from extinction. Oops, I forgot to mention his #1 passion is sawfish. I believe he will if he truly desires to do that. Aspies have a gift. Those who are not Aspies unfortunately do not understand us and therefore are threatened by us. People such as yourself are true miracle workers to those who have gifts but may not have been allowed to express them. Thank you!

    • CaptainQuirk

      Quite a compliment at the end there! 😀 Thanks so much! All the best to you and your grandson.

  13. Nina

    When I was 5 I had an obsession over dinosaurs (they’re great and I miss the knowledge). Now, 14 years old, I am obsessed with Marvel and Tolkien. I know all the characters, their full names, their families and where they live, what their childhood was like etc. People react with, ‘Aren’t you too old to be so obsessed with fictional characters?’ No, because without them, I’d be depressed and lost. Without fanfiction, I’d never get the escape from all those other alien persons. So, yeah I need my obsession.

  14. Della Thompson

    Love the great points you share here and love your sense of humor! As a teacher and a mom of a 22 year old son who has autism, I’ve been fighting this misconception for years, but never as eloquently as you just did. Thank you for writing this; it’s definitely a piece I’ll share.
    P.S. You really do look awesome in the Sonic pajamas.

    • CaptainQuirk

      Thanks a lot for the comment and the compliments! 😀

      …But I bet I don’t look as awesome in them now. 😉

      Thanks again!

  15. Shavon


  16. Estelle

    I agree that there are some obsssions that should be left alone. Maybe if the autistic person’s family is tired of hearing about it, they could encourage the autistic to find a different outlet for the obsession (e.g. join a Facebook group or read and write fanfic about their obsession). As an autistic myself, I often use these outlets to avoid driving people crazy when I have a new obsession. However, there are some kinds of obsessions that I would gladly be rid of. Like you or someone else says something and then later you can’t get what happened out of your head no matter what you try, and worse your brain interprets what was said in a negative light and beats you up for it and comes up with all kinds of negative reasons for it. I wish people would write about ways to stop this kind of obsession.

  17. Cinder000 (@unbasher)

    I have an “obseesion” too. It’s injustice, both real and fictional. It’s the reason why I want to become a lawyer then a judge, then a politician. I want to help people. It’s the reason why I started reading Shakespeare at a younger age than most people. It’s why I’m obsessed with the Merchant of Venice. Shylock is, to me, a victim of outrageous injustice. He’s abused because has a Jew, so thus I think that the play is pro Semitic. From a very early age, I had a passion for politics. Isn’t that a good thing?! I call it an obsession but my parents, especially my mom were and are cool with it. They never stopped me. They never didn’t allow me to talk about it or do research about it.

  18. marysfarmexperiments

    Thanks for writing this. I have an 11yr. old son, that loves everything about professional wrestling. He talks about the wrestlers, the organizations, the stables, the managers, and all the statistics. He watches wrestling documentaries and biographies. He’s memorized the “heels” and the “faces” and the backstories and rivalries. He drives everyone bananas, including his teachers and therapists, talking about it. But as you can tell, I’ve learned quite a bit from him. (I know what a heel is, and a face, and a stable.) I think I’m the only one who doesn’t mind his talking about it so much. And I try to take time to listen and even watch a few matches now and again. Because it dawned on me that the pageantry of wrestling is a caricature of social conflicts/interactions. There’s a definite good guy and a definite bad guy and there’s a story that explains why the good guy hates the bad guy; and why the bad guy is bad. And the two battle it out ’til the best guy or woman wins. (Yes, he likes the WWE Divas, too.) I think these are interactions that he understands. Sometimes other adults think I “encourage” his “obsession” to much. But I see my son learning perseverance. I see him discussing and learning about peoples mistakes and their repercussions, when he follows different wrestler careers and learns about their personal lives. I see him becoming very introspective and philosophical and developing his own sense of morality, (a good one, better than most). I see him not giving up on himself, or others; and no matter how anxious, depressed, frustrated or just down-right scared he gets, he gets up and does it again the next day. I know wrestling has helped teach him that, because he’ll say “Ya’ know Mom it’s like that time Rowdy Roddy Piper…. Or when the Ultimate Warrior had to….” You get the idea. I moved to North Central Texas when I was 13. (Yep, the heart of Von Erich country!) I never liked pro-wrestling. I thought it was ridiculous & stupid. I look at it very differently now. Thanks to my son.

  19. Maureen Sharkey

    Thank you for another amazing article!

    My son is really into video games. It’s been a challenge in getting my husband to understand that 1) this is perfectly normal 2) helps him.

    I asked my son why video games. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t an avoidance or a way to isolate himself from the world. He explained that Playing a new game means you need to keep at it. You need to learn from your mistakes, and try a new way next time. And in the end, your hard work and persistence pays off. Wow!

    So yes, he plays chess and bowls but his real hobby that he pours his heart into is video games. And I’m ok with that. He is getting something from it.

    We insisted that he join other things to help him gain social skills – bowling, social skills groups, and for the first time, he came how excited about joining a new club at school – a gaming club.

    My husband is coming around and making great efforts to understand our son’s perspective. It’s. been challenging for him to understand that chris thinks and sees things differently. He can overthink situations and sees things in a more “deep” way.

    Thanks again for sharing! Keep them coming!

    • CaptainQuirk

      Hi again!

      Thanks again for sharing- it’s great to see an example of video games being used as a positive, in a world which encourages people to believe they’re bad. 😉

  20. Sherrie

    My 11 year old daughter loves dinosaurs, she draws them, creates 3D dinosaur models, designs dinosaur skins for games on steam which includes learning to take criticism by others when she submits them and then going back and taking the advice on board and learning how to do it better. She’s taught her self how to use unreal tournament engine to design models and terrain. She’s hoping to make her own dinosaur games that’s less frustrating then the other dinosaur games. She’s also started working on maps for another dinosaur game. I’m sure she’s be back to making dinosaur videos soon when she sees what Santa leaves under the tree.

    • Jasmine

      I know this is 7-8 months late, but I play a game online called ARK: Survival Evolved. She’d absolutely adore it (wouldn’t recommend anything other than single player for an 11 year old though)

  21. Lisa Stade

    like the page about why Obsession are really important for those on the Autism Spectrum, and with Asperger’s Syndrome. I’m also a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, with a lot of Obsessions with historical figures like; the Mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., NASA’s Mission Control Flight Director Gene Kranz, also with about five to seven times with dealing with an Obsession with Adolf Hitler, and the Nazis. Which I found out later on while in College that Hitler also could have suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome as well.
    Yet even through a lot of my Obsessions are positive (except what some people being Nuerotypicals, would call negative or offensive towards others to hear.)Most people don’t sem to see that even though the person who has Asperger’s or Autism and deals with Obsessions, they all see the m as tiring to hear about all the time. Except people with Asperger’s like me might see for example with the normal kind with His dinosaur interest as being a interest, and the same picture sends the same message that even though people with Asperger’s Obsessions they still experience the same feeling ad liking of that people with interests also experience. Same thing if you put a picture of some who might be a person with a Professor’s Career at a University or a College, who has an interest in Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and compare it to a picture of some normal looking person (like me ) that is someone who deals with Asperger’s Syndrome and deals with currently an Obsession with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, you could see very many similliaries in both pictures. Yet also not expect that the person withAsperger’s that experiences the same feelings of interest that the Nuerotypicla College, and University Professor who feel with their interest in Hitler and the Nazis. Exect, an Asperger’s person version of an interest in Adolf Hitler, and the Nazis is called an Obsession.
    Believe me Iv’e experience many cases growing up at Schol, especially through High Scholl, where I wasn’t at all allowed to talk about my Obsessions at all. Only about thing that are normal interests. That’s the problem… Aspie Interests are they’re Obsessions. It’s like telling someone who is black not to talk about being a black person, and have to talk about only white things. Well if you did that in Society today , you would be a flat-ot racist, but we do the same thing to people on the Autsim Spectrum, and Asperger’s Sydrome to nto at all talk or bring up their Obsessions, because their odd, or offensive, or people get tired of them hearing some with Asperger’s/ Autism talk about hem all the time.

    Believe me someone at my Community College at Consumnes River College in Sacramento, California, told me today that people with Asperger’s Syndrome, don’t have Obsessions. As pretty much telling me that only people with O.C.D. get Obsessions, NOT Aspies. As that I guess she though I would lie to her all my time with her at College for Eight years that that Hitler Obsessions, and Hitler (what ever he is for me)doesn’t have a medical diagnosis, except being a Bloody Nazi. Of course, because because Aspies really just get Germopobia and become neat freaks, but don’t ever become Mathematicians due to a Mathematics Obsessions, or invent the theory of realitivity, or become U.S. Presidnets and U.s. Founding Fathers or best of all..Dictators (because hey at least Hitler can read a Map, because I see a lot of todays generation of Nuerotypical can’t read Maps without googling their distinations and the directions to get their on google maps, on the web.)So who’s to say an Aspie with a Hitler Obsession can’t become a History Profesor, and want to graduate from Princeton University. With also want to speek up for those with Asperger’s Syndrome and ring also awareness about their Obsessions,a nd how they want fear treatment for their Obsessions.But instead will want to have to because Nuerotypical Society say because I have any kind of Obsession, especially one with Hitler that I might as well spend the rest of my like ofn Welfare with no future. Well a least Hitler as an Aspie can persuade the masses …the Nuerotypical Masses.

    • Abbie Rieber

      that is exactly what happened to me. I was into hetalia once and my favorite country/character was Germany. So I went into studying German history and stumbled upon Hitler. I’m Austrian, and he was too, so I thought I was related to him. Strange part: I was Jewish. I started to tell everyone and they mocked me for it, except i didn’t consider it mockery. I told my dad like it was a good thing and he restricted me from watching hetalia for 6 weeks and it eventually disappeared. I felt your pain in 7th grade.
      -Abbie Rieber

      • Rosa

        It is a sad fact Abbie, but you might have been right. Rumor has it that Hiltler’s father was the illegitimate son of a Jew. Hitler’s grandmother ( a woman called Maria Schickelgruber) worked as a housemaid for a Jewish merchant until she became pregnant “out -of wedlock”. She lost her job, but her employer gave her a really generous pension, so she was financially comfortable for the rest of her life. ( Historians believe that the merchant’s son was the father). Hitler’s father changed his name – he wanted the new name to be Hidler, ( or something similar) but a clerk got it wrong…… ( See Kershaw’s biography of Hilter)

  22. Phil

    Aspergers obsessions can help develop you as well as drive you insane whilst trying to function in a neurotypical world. 4 years ago, I began an obsession with Animaniacs. Pretty awesome but I couldn’t stop thinking or mentioning animaniacs at work. then 2 years ago it was wonder woman. I dealt with these obsessions by writing fanfiction and drawing artwork. Writing wonder woman fanfiction allowed me to write some awesome stories…but it also made me obsessed with Lynda Carter. I began to feel like a stalker, because I knew every detail there was to know about her.

    I’m getting to the point where I can see my obsessions coming from a mile away. I think it’s gonna be Baywatch next.

  23. Liz

    This article is brilliantly spot on, As a kid I always had a different interest and I still do, I have high functioning autism btw. One of my special interests back then and now are animals, I love learning about different animals and I have had several pets since childhood. Another special interest a obsession my mom calls it, is the Sid and Marty Krofft shows I just love those 70 children’s cheesy puppet shows and I especially love The Bugaloos (One of the Krofft shows) I know everything about the show and the characters and the songs, I actually wrote a fan letter to Sid and Marty Krofft a week ago just to thank them for creating my favorite show

    Hell, I even run a Bugaloos fan page on Facebook dedicated to my special interest, so not bad for a so called obsession! I also like Gamecube games such as Animal Crossing and Chibi Robo, I was obsessed with those games for a while

  24. Abbie Rieber

    I have an obsession with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and it’s getting to a point where I incorporate it in everyday conversations and no other person gets it. Plus, there are no MSTies at my school. Can you help me with that?

  25. Kim

    My son is “obsessed” with Baby Einstein. He watched it a lot as a young baby and child, but he is almost 8 years old and it is beginning to be an issue in every day life. He acts like the puppets a lot (noises and actions), and will watch videos on YouTube of other kids watching Baby Einstein, then act like those kids (sometimes he picks up some rather unfavorable things, like he found some video of a kid recording himself farting during certain parts of it, and now he tries to imitate that kid! – it’s so frustrating!). I’ve tried transferring it to other shows with puppets (like the Muppets, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, etc.), but he doesn’t like those. I’ve also tried transferring it to music activities (since Baby Einstein is filled with great classical music), and that has had some luck, but still not enough to pull him away from the actual Baby Einstein shows. I don’t want to take it away, but he has trouble connecting with other kids as it is, and when he constantly talks about and acts like a show made for babies under one year of age, it’s really becoming an issue. I don’t know what to do here…

  26. Nicola Warner

    Hi Kim, I don’t know if you’d agree with this, but would it be possible to use Baby Einstein as a reward? Maybe for trying other shows, activities etc

  27. Ramona

    In my experience, I think it depends on if the “obsession” is considered typical for your demographic.

    One of my “obsessions” is actually very stereotypical for a young adult woman. Fashion. When it become just as focused as my other “obsessions”, it was just an “interest” because it was considered typical. I also had the fun time learning that just because other kids were also “outcasts” didn’t mean they weren’t also cruel as hell. You’d think I learnt my lesson in primary where my so-called “friends” ditched me while the “popular” kids befriended me.

    But my interest in all sorts of animals and learning about them was an “obsession”. It wasn’t typical (or seen typical) for a teenage girl to actively look up information about spiders because spiders are cool and come on, the webs they make are intrinsically complicated. Spiders are awesome. They also eat the mosquitoes that seem determined to eat me and they don’t smell like mosquito spray does. So automatic yes to you spiders.

    Thing is, I was just as likely to randomly look up information of spiders or “non-cute” animals as I was to randomly look up fashion things. One was just considered a typical thing for my demographic while the other isn’t.

    • CaptainQuirk

      That’s a really good point. 🙂 Come to think of it, my interest in Sonic the Hedgehog was probably parallel in intensity to my classmates’ interest in football. But one was “expected”, the other was not.

      Thanks for your insight!

  28. niahrhoads

    A lot of my special interests have been seen as “weird” (often by my parents) and social skills training has taught me not to engage in monologues (I still do sometimes, though), so I don’t really talk about my special interests anymore. (By the way, I’m suspected. I’ve taken a bunch of online assessments and they all say I’m definitely autistic, but my parents don’t think I have it because they think autistic people can’t be aware of their disorder and can’t function.)

  29. John Marriott

    My main creative outlet is modelmaking. Whenever I start a new relationship, I make it clear that it’s part of the package. An ex girlfriend called it “my obsession” and that is one of the reasons that she became an ex! 🙂

  30. JD

    My son is 9 and is obsessed with fire alarms. It used to be train crossing lights, before that ceiling fans. I’m not sure what he gets out of these. He gets contentious when we ask him about them, but then he likes to pretend he’s putting them up and wants us to pretend as well. He also is very into the Care Bears, which is too young for him, but it’s much better than some of the alternatives that he’s watched (Dinosaur King was awful, and he just picked up the insults they would trade). He has ASD and ODD, which makes for a really difficult combination.

  31. Jan

    This was an interesting article to read. I’m a little late on finding it, but I know a friend whose obsession (or passion as I like to call it) was Black Butler. She used to love it so much and I encouraged her along the way! Unfortunately, during our senior year of high school, we had a toxic friend that strongly discouraged my friend’s love for Black Butler, and discouraged it so much she treated her like complete dirt. We both got rid of her, but it didn’t erase the pain my friend had afterwards. I miss how she got so excited about something she loves. She still likes Black Butler, I do too, I always have. Trying to move on has been a difficult thing, so her passion has been severely reduced our of fear of being judged. She wants to get back to the anime/manga, but it’s taking a long time. In the meantime, she’s very enthusiastic about bats! Someday she’ll return to Black Butler and I won’t let anyone treat her the way our former friend did.

  32. Jks

    My daughter has obsessive interests/obsessions. I think professionals don’t diagnose her as autistic because she isn’t difficult enough. But if people around you understand then you don’t have to be difficult, right? She is wonderful and I don’t push her too hard to be someone she is not. She is my third kid and I’ve got four kids and no reason for her to be someone I thought up before I knew her. I’m glad to read your post and learn from you about how some people need to be obsessed with their obsessions. It is ok with me if she reads 8 books a day and only talks about fantasy worlds and how much she loves our dog. As long as she showers and goes to school and is respectful to me and unloads the dishwasher when I ask. Thank you for trying to educate the world.

  33. Theo

    I have an obsession with King George III and conjoined twins. I would be lucky if I found someone that in least know a little about that.

  34. SLM1975

    My family & some toxic friends tried to lure me away from obsessions with bands. It hurt like hell, cos no one knew about my Asperger’s at the time.


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