This project’s guiding concept is “special interests,” a term used by some autistic people to describe intense interests or passions that have particular importance. Though not all autistic people use this term to describe their interests, it provides an entry point to understand how autistic people live meaningful lives. Focusing on these interests shows how autistic people build lives around things that matter to them, in ways that frequently challenge stereotypes of autistic people as asocial and disconnected.

The items in the gallery come from a series of interviews with autistic people about their interests. Each participant’s interest(s) was combined with the autistic researcher’s interest in knitting to create a knitted item for each person. These items are displayed here along with a key quote and narrative from each interview. Because this project seeks to tell more accurate and ethical stories about autism, participants were able to choose whether or not they would like their name associated with their narrative and were given the opportunity to review the text prior to publication.

After exploring the gallery using the links to the left (on a desktop) or above (on a mobile device), you can find more information about this project and the research methods in the About section