understanding asd and adhd : HYPERFOCUS vs perseveration

Most parents with children on the spectrum have exhausting experiences with their children’s latest ‘special interest’ aka ‘the obsession’.

I have lately come across the term hyperfocus on some of the more ‘young adult’ forums and was surprised that, contrary to the neutral definition (wiki) it’s described as a kind of controllable ‘tool’ for example when studying or in research. Say what?

The prefix “hyper-“, is normally used to describe something that is over the top, excessive… and not in a good way (that would be ‘super-‘).

So I think studying, or last-minute-tasks require simple ‘focus’ or concentration, maybe ‘flow’ if you like, but the confusion of the term inspired me to these :


1. A handy studying tool ?


2. The incapacity stop doing what you’re doing when you should really be doing something else ?


And while your ASD child’s hyperfocus might one day lead to the brilliant discovery of a formula worth the Nobel price, most times, it would pretty much be in the way of sensible social interactions and look more like this  :

3. Hyperfocus in our lives…


(Yes, our Mariomania is still ON. And while some NT parents would think it’s a rather common obsession for a 7 yo boy, he is indeed taking this to a totally new levels..)


4 thoughts on “understanding asd and adhd : HYPERFOCUS vs perseveration

  1. Kelley

    Boo’s lifetime obsession has been legs. Kinda a problem now he is in high school. If someone ‘has their legs on’ (shorts or short skirt) he cannot concentrate on anything else.

  2. nikki Post author

    agh. that would be awkward, up here in qld it’s pretty much shorts all year round.. i mean, I know at first it might sound amusing (boy, legs etc) but i am guessing it’s more than the usual attraction.. O_O


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