It is a fact that most people on the Spectrum like to collect, some call it a special interest. I like to call it a talent, to be so dedicated and to stay on track. I wish my concentration levels could allow me to collect something with ongoing dedication.
Here are Tony Attwood's thoughts on collecting and Asperger's http://suite101.com/article/aspergers-syndrome-and-obsessions-and-special-interests-a251062. Both my Aspie boys don't entirely agree with his conclusions. In fact, they don't agree with many things in his books. Tony Attwood likes to generalise a lot! Like us NTs, people on the Spectrum are all individual too. In fact I know many NT people that are more avid collector's than my two boys (that is hubby and my son). They put the boys to shame!
Hadley has agreed that he likes to collect knowledge, but unlike Tony Attwood's claim that this is on one specific subject, Hadley likes to collect knowledge on anything and everything. He just likes to know as much as he can. For an 8 year old, his knowledge is vast and often surprising. Just this week he told me what NATO was, when I was not too sure. He then proceeded to fill me in on the Cold War. I was also talking to my 18yo about how progressive New Zealand was, in being the first country to give women the vote. Hadley piped up with the exact year! It was 1893 from memory, but I could be wrong, my mind doesn't seem to retain much!
Hubby did say, as a child, if it was collectable he was in! He still loves to collect books, and loves all things Rugby, but certainly not much more than your average Kiwi! He does find it hard to throw things away, but we have not reached "The Hoarders" status quite yet!
I guess this post is on generalising. The so called experts (and you will hear me using that term a lot) loved to generalise about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Note hat I dislike the term disorder immensely. I remember when someone first suggested my son may have Aspergers, I thought, no he can't because every single piece of information I could find said, those with Aspergers avoid eye contact. Both my husband and son probably have better eye contact than I do! My husband is also sporty, a marathon runner, sociable, has tact, has great people skills - according to experts, he shouldn't or couldn't have Aspergers, but he does!
It is like the saying - an Aspie cannot lie. Oh yes they can, and some are very good at it! If you ask my son, do I look fat, he will give you a straight answer. Ask him if he did something that was wrong, he can very easily say no! Can my husband lie - he is a man - need I say more?
While I say to parents, arm yourself, read as much as you can, take caution. Most books written are very general and written for entry level parents - that is those who are just starting out. You will find, that if you do connect with adults on the Spectrum, if you join groups that include people on the Spectrum, you will know so much more than someone that has decided to write a book on the subject, but does not live with AS every single day.
Learn - especially from those who life this life - but learn to sift through the facts and learn to trust yourself, your instincts and learn to let your child lead the way. Learn to listen to what they want and need. They do not have to be verbal for you to be able to listen. Be instinctive and stop listening to experts who are in fact not quite as expert as they would have you believe.