One of the hallmark symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder is the intense preoccupation with a specific interest. Asperger’s Disorder children become almost obsessed with a particular toy, topic, or object, and the rest of the world holds little interest for them. Often their interest involves collecting items and arranging them over and over in a rather meaningless way. They may develop repetitive routines with their items that have little meaning and are performed in a rote manner.
The interests are usually done alone, with little or no interest in sharing the pleasure with others. Sharing with others is not a mutual exchange of fun ideas and knowledge, but an endless drone of knowledge. The interest is one they found on their own and not selected by parents, teachers, or friends. They do not care if others are not interested; they do not succumb to peer pressure to drop their interest and pursue what the other kids are into.
Their interest may be a common interest, such as dinosaurs or World War II battleships, or it may be very unique, such as locks or bottle tops. Some parents have used the word fanatical to describe their child’s intense and restricted interest.