“I think clinically, a lot of autistic people's behavior is described as meaningless. But that's because people don't see the meaning. And people don't understand the connection.”

Quote by Caroline Garrett


Stuffed knitted horse

Image description: A knitted stuffed tan horse with a cream mane and tail made out of strands of yarn. It has black hooves and eyes and is standing up in a three-quarter view.


Caroline told me that her job is meaningful and her relationships are meaningful, but that when she doesn’t have a special interest, it feels like there’s something missing from her life. Caroline shared how meaningful horses were to her when she was a child, saying that “everything that I loved had to do with horses.” 

Though this interest faded away for a while, it has returned in adulthood. Now Caroline has a part-time job on a horse farm and volunteers at an animal sanctuary. She describes these activities as “something I look forward to, something I can turn to if I'm feeling down or upset. And I feel like that gives me a broader purpose.” Caroline described special interests as “deeper than a hobby,” explaining that for neurodivergent people “the ability to absorb so much and do like deep dives and go in so many different tangential directions–and the joy that comes along with that–is what makes it a special interest.”