Shifting – Living Autistic

A few weeks I ago I talked about “branding” and my resistance concerning making this blog about one specific thing in an attempt to brand myself.
One reason is something I call shifting.

After an extensive neuro-developmental evaluation, I was diagnosed with pdd-nos which, to those unfamiliar with autism spectrum disorders it is “pervasive developmental delay not otherwise specified.” It was used in old diagnostic criteria for people who didn’t quite fit the exact criteria for autism or aspergers.

My evaluator didn’t think I was high functioning enough to qualify for aspergers.

These days, all three labels have been merged into simply “autism spectrum disorder,” and I believe rightly so because the lines between the three are quite subjective.

One aspect of the criteria for autism is obsessive interests.

I had a very narrow few as a child.

The interests of my adult life are as  follows:

The language of the earth:

Ecosystems, Lepidoptera, secondary succession, zoology, new nature movement, patterns, systems theory (biological and social primarily) chaos theory, other sciences

Measuring that language:

graph, network and set theory and fractals

The language of the mind:

Sherlock Holmes always and related such as other detective mystery, logic, and forensics, psychology, cognitive development, autism and disability rights, creativity, learning, non mainstream pedagogy

Expression of the two:
mixed media, sketch, water color, video editing, tin whistle, photography, 19th century art, music, and history, American and British literature, and almost all genre of music, writing, researching

You may be thinking, “That sounds a bit nerdy but not atypical.”
It seems like a large and somewhat varied set of interests, yes.

It is in the intensity and focus that they are atypical. They tend to be all I think, read, write, talk, and even consume media about. I’m hardly an expert in them, but in most, more knowledgeable than an amateur.
Conversely, I am perpetually clueless about many things people find culturally important. (fashion, celebrity, politics, trends, anything on television not related to the interest, most movies out, most popular music, most social stuff, etc.) I only read the news because my grandfather told me long ago it was important to know what was going on.

These interests are constantly shifting and expanding, fading away to return again and once again shift and expand. Every time they do I become a little bit more knowledgeable. It’s like leveling up in a video game.
There are only a couple  that tend to remain constant and the others I glide in and out of with very little conscious decision on my part.  For example, I haven’t felt compelled to play my tin whistle in a year, I’m not sure when it will be back but when it does I can guarantee a jump in skills.

Anecdotally, other adults on the spectrum report similar shifting interests.

What that means is that I’m going to fluctuate between different topics and ideas. It seems better to make an eclectic blog than post random things on a themed blog or not post at all because the interest is on hiatus.


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