Andrew most definitely has many obsessions as well. Andrew can get fixated on something really quick and it is a huge obsession with him. Whatever the obsession is he goes to bed with it on his mind and it is the first thing he wants in the morning when he wakes up. Most of the time, it will be the first thing out of his mouth when greeting someone. Most neurotypical people greet a person by saying something along the lines as, "Hi. How are you?" Instead of that, Andrew immediately starts talking about his obsession. He continues to talk about his obsession 24/7 and his whole day revolves around it. Simply put, he can't get it out of his head.
It is the intensity and duration of a person's interest in a particular topic, object or collection that marks it out as an obsession. People will often learn a lot about a thing they are obsessed with, be intensely interested in it for a long time, and feel strongly about it. It becomes a huge problem with people on the autism spectrum when their obsessions take over their lives. Both of my boys have this problem really bad.
Have you ever heard a song that you really like and then you find yourself singing it non-stop. You may get aggravated because you can't get it out of your head. Well, for an individual on the spectrum that is exactly what it is but it is magnified greatly and last for many more days and months. If you are like me, I may have the song in my head for one day......not for months.
We all have hobbies and interests and – generally – a strong preference for routine. Here are five questions that can help us distinguish between hobbies and interests, and obsessive behavior.
- Does the person appear distressed when engaging in the behavior or does the person give signs that they are trying to resist the behavior?
- Can the person stop the behavior independently?
- Is the behavior impacting on the person's learning?
- Is the behavior limiting the person's social opportunities?
- Is the behavior causing significant disruption to other people?
Currently, Andrew is obsessed around a certain iPad game. At other times he has been obsessed with certain TV shows or movies and certain toys.
Trenton's obsession continues to be the black bag;)