“What I'm interested in helps me understand the world around me better and interact with the world around me. But like, it's not a pathological thing. There's nothing wrong with being interested and caring about things.”


Knitted bookshelf scarf

Image description: A knitted scarf folded so that both sides are visible. One side has thick horizontal stripes of pink, yellow, purple, green, and blue that alternate over the length of the scarf. Each stripe features a navy bookcase shelf with books of varying thickness and height. The stripe at the end of the scarf has an open book facing the viewer. The opposite side of the scarf has the same design but with the colors reversed.


This participant shared that as an autistic person, they were able to really focus on the things that they cared about. However, they also felt that “special interests” could be a rigid term because “I don't just care about what I'm interested in or what I do. I care about people, and I care about interacting with people and getting to know people and all of those things, too. And so I think that it kind of can shove autistic people a little bit into a box.”

This design of this scarf came out of this person’s lifelong interest in writing and creating stories, which had manifested in drama, music, dance, and most recently, writing poetry. While disability isn’t the only thing that they write about, they did start a project of writing poetry that speaks back to the depictions of autism they read about. In learning more about the history of autism, they became really interested in how autism was represented. “It was very upsetting,” they said, “I wanted to respond and write back to it."