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Fixations for those with autism have positive effects in later life, study shows

Whether it is trains, elevators, or film, the preferred interests of those with autism bring about a unique way of interacting with the world. The reasons why those with autism choose to prefer certain objects, concepts, and language is something that is challenging to define. However, a new study shows that these fixations have calming effects and could prove useful to acknowledge and encourage into adulthood.

Intense fixations is traditionally viewed as an aspect of autism that can make social interactions more challenging for people with autism. One person’s specific interest in something could in turn make it difficult to relate to others’ interests or be able to engage in conversation outside this topic. Koenig & Williams conducted this study to see how adults with autism perceive their childhood preferred interests and the ways in which they have incorporated these fixations into their adult lives.


Here are some key points about the study and its findings:

  • The study looked into the thoughts and perspectives of 80 adults with autism ages 18 to 70.
  • Participants filled out a survey and answered an open-ended question about their preferred interests.
  • 92% of participants said that their preferred interests had calming effects.
  • 86% of participants said that they have a job, are in school for, or in training within the preferred area.
  • 68% of participants said that their preferred interests have changed over time.

To learn more about the procedures and additional findings for this study, read the full article online.


P. Koenig, Kristie and H. Williams, Lauren. Characterization and Utilization of Preferred Interests: A Survey of Adults on the Autism Spectrum. Occupational Therapy In Mental Health, Vol. 0, Iss. 0,0.
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