What are our interests? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In a number of cases, like other people, one fast way to get into the world of an autistic person is to find out what they’re interested in and be genuinely interested in it. One fast way to get excluded is to discount what they are interested in. Usually, our interests are that we are totally obsessed with something or we just don’t care for it at all.

For instance, take the TV show Smallville. It is the longest-running Superman TV show ever. All the episodes had one-word titles. There were over 200 of them as the show lasted ten glorious seasons. There was also a time of my life when I knew every single episode title in order. To this day, I can say something to my Dad like “Yeah. That showed up in season 1, episode 11. Hug.” I had a subscription to the magazine and I would read an article that said “In season 5, this happened,” I would wish I was a fact-checker because I knew it was season 6.

The same could be said for video games like Final Fantasy or the Legend of Zelda series. Games have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. They still are.

Of course, there’s also my Christian faith. Come to me and start talking about apologetics and we’re there. I used to do chapel on the hill at my old Bible College. They wanted sermons to be 15-20 minutes. I did 45 and no one complained. We even stayed once an hour after the sermon as I walked students through the first chapter of Hebrews.

When you meet someone on the spectrum who is obsessed with a topic, expect them to know it exceptionally well. If you don’t know the topic, don’t act like you do, but do show interest. If we suspect your interest is not genuine, it will not cause us to warm up to you as that comes across as fake.

Now if you don’t have any interest, one of the best things you can do then is to just not say anything. If you think you need to say something, you can ask why the person likes it so much. When people have a hobby or an interest, they do tend to like to talk about it.

Too often in our world, we look at what someone is interested in as necessarily a problem. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. When we find out what a person is most interested in, we are getting a clue to their personality. It is something that we can learn from to figure out who they are. If we’re being honest, most of us don’t understand why it is that we like the things that we do. We just do.

When you meet someone on the spectrum, keep that in mind. Definitely if you want to have a friendship with them don’t disparage what they’re interested in. If you have a genuine interest as well in their obsession, you could have a friend for life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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