Autism: Lacking a Special Interest


I don't have a special interest. I get a tad disappointed when people learn I have Autism Spectrum Disorder because the follow up response is often, "Do you have a special talent or interest?" I reply with no. While my IQ is at or above the 99th percentile, I don't have savant skills. Brilliant, but not necessarily genius. With so many interests, none get elevated to the level of positive obsession.
While sharing this frustration with my psychiatrist this week, she used the phrase "globally gifted" to describe me. I quipped, "No wonder I've been lacking career direction." I didn't know how to pick what I was good at. After high school I enrolled as an Arts major with Calculus as my option - I knew it would be an easy A. Not the usual academic combination.
However, because of my global giftedness/Autism combination, I ask questions some perceive as out of context. Cutting edge leaders and policy makers value innovation, creativity and dedication to working out contextual strategies. Increasingly I'm invited to participate in these type of discussions which excites me. And feels risky. My social limitations have the power to emotionally erase the positive contributions I bring to brainstorming and networking.  With a social faux pas I could lose credibility within the group and spiral downward in my mind if I allow myself to replay the incident.
I'm choosing to be thankful for the combination of characteristics which make me who I am. Without the Autism, networking could easily become schmoozing. Without global giftedness, one or two intense passions could easily limit my life experiences. Thankfulness creates the space to live my life to the fullest.

What benefits have you discovered in living with Autism, either in yourself or someone you know?

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