Autism & Controlling Hyper Focuses
Since the start of the school year I have been very busy. Between school, homework, blogging, karate, and temple, I hardly have any time for other activities. With my schedule it’s necessary to prioritize what I do first (most important) and what I do last (least important). My mom says that I should be doing my school/homework, then temple, then karate, and finally blog. I agree with most of the order; I’m still trying to figure out where blogging goes. Knowing this, I still often find myself doing blog or business related work before my homework is finished. My mom is not too happy when this happens because she feels that then I don’t spend enough time on my homework and don’t do as well in my classes.
Some people say that I might not value my education enough if I’m doing blogging or business before homework. The exact opposite is the case. Education is one of the most important things in my life. I strive to get A’s in every single class (whether academic or an elective). I do my best because I know that it counts. I also know that after high school, I will (with 100% certainty) go to college to get my Bachelor’s degree and will most likely also get a Master’s degree. People then wonder why I still do these “recreational” activities before homework.
The answer is that I get stuck on topics. Many individuals on the Autism spectrum get “stuck” on talking about one specific topic or doing one specific thing. This is very true for me. Getting stuck on a topic kind of relates to hyperfocusing. When I hyperfocus or get stuck on a topic I get very into it. My mind is only on that particular thing and nothing else. This is especially challenging for my parents because when I get distracted from homework and start working on blogging or a business of mine, it’s extremely hard to get me back on track. When I get stuck on a topic, I often block all of the distractions (noises). So if my mom tries to talk to me, I usually won’t hear it until she gets my attention some other way. Depending on what the topic/project is, if I’m really into it, and my mom or dad interrupts me, I get really mad. I don’t like to be interrupted at all (especially when I need to do something that I don’t like doing).
When this problem occurs, my mom sits down with me and sets up some type of timed plan. For instance, we will talk together and compromise on how many more minutes I can do whatever I’m doing before switching to another activity. One thing that doesn’t work is when my mom makes me stop immediately or decides how long I have without any of my input. I feel very frustrated when I can’t have a say in this type of decision. Knowing this, my mom tries her hardest to always compromise with me on a time. If I need to come back to what I was doing, my mom and I compromise on a deal where I have to do an amount of minutes of what she wants and then the same amount of minutes for what I want (and this repeats until what my mom wants me to do is finished). When I know that I will have dedicated time to work on whatever I’m working on, I have an easier time letting go in the moment. For this to happen, my mom has to remind me that I will have time later. My mom will assure me that I will be able to continue at another time.
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