Surely, anyone who has or works with Aspergers Syndrome has received encouragement of the idea that people with Aspergers and their closest acquaintances (i.e. parents and teachers) ought to discover and to nurture that ONE thing that they know or do best. Such an interest is indicated by extreme focus on a particular topic or series of topics in which the person with Aspergers is able to memorize it down to the last detail and able to recount any detail imaginable.
Ideally, a person with Aspergers uses this to his/her advantage in order to get a head start on his/her education and career, as well as to generally enjoy life. Therefore, such strong interests are also therapeutic in the sense that they help people with Aspergers to confidently tackle their daily challenges within secure comfort zones.
As beneficial as they are, however, restricted interests do not always ensure that people with Aspergers achieve long-term personal development and sustenance. More specifically, restricted interests can take away from the ability to develop mental strength.
For example, a teenager who only likes video games and never fails at them becomes less likely to make responsible financial decisions as a young adult. Primarily, this is due to the fact that he likely has few opportunities to learn about the qualities of healthy decision making. Provided that he became adept to rare failure, this likely implies that he also easily gives up, rather than uses his mistakes to create breakthroughs.
Personally, I encourage people with Aspergers to explore a wide variety of subjects and to take some level of interest in them, even from a very early age. This ensures that children and youth never cease to develop solid personal knowledge and strength to utilize in adult situations and against difficult circumstances.
From a family point of view, parents typically enjoy it when they give their children the opportunity to gain knowledge and intrigue in many subjects; parents also take further pride when they are successful in doing so.
One thing to note is that the case of parenting Aspergers children is somewhat different than the “typical” child. A parent usually likes to attempt to foster multiple interests on behalf of his/her child while simultaneously nurturing that one huge interest. Emphasis on both forms a family dynamic that serves not only the child’s personal interests, but his/her best interest as well.
More specifically, the child efficiently learns life lessons on a regular basis, such as the fact that it is not a bad thing to fail at something many times. Thus, the Aspergers child develops a mindset that will allow them to embrace change, failure, and adversity when it comes time to chart his/her own paths towards all definitions of success and sustenance. This serves the child with Aspergers better than a dependency on one interest that constitutes a rigid comfort zone or shelter from the hardships of adult life.
In addition to learning new and refreshing life lessons, people with Aspergers can take it upon themselves to try new things and to explore their minds in the process. With exploration comes new interests; these interests can pool together to culminate in at least one passion. This leads to the development of multiple skills, such as oral communication skills, analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and more.
More intriguingly, passion in a subject fosters self-determination; this, in turn, leads to the application and further development of all acquired skills. Further, the well-developed skills then lead to new passions; passions become talents. The sum of these interests, skills, passions, and talents equate to true success in a person’s personal and professional lives. It is an amazing cycle that consistently repeats and could ultimately lead a person with Aspergers to a variety of distinguished achievements, as well as everlasting personal growth and sustenance against all odds.
Whether or not a person with Aspergers constantly sticks with the one thing that always piques his/her interest, there is always a chance to succeed if s/he commits to the consistent education of him/herself, the world, and familiar and unfamiliar subjects. After all, open-mindedness is a no-fail strategy for life, as well as one of the keys to success in multiple arenas. Any person can adopt this trait to become a master of many different things, including people with Aspergers. It is one of the many ways that people with Aspergers can live their lives with outstanding integrity and quality.
By Reese Eskridge
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