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Hyperfocus Autism: 5 Need-to-Know Tips If Your Child Exhibits Hyperfocus

October 30, 2023

5 min read

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Author : United We Care
Hyperfocus Autism: 5 Need-to-Know Tips If Your Child Exhibits Hyperfocus

Introduction

In order to comprehend Autism, it is important to understand Hyperfocus. Hyperfocus refers to heightened attention on a specific task or object. If you hyperfocus, you will not grasp any other happenings in the environment

Hyperfocus can be a disturbance as it puts all the attention on a single task. 

With this in mind, we explore how hyperfocus is connected to Autism and how to manage it. 

What Is Hyperfocus Autism?

Likewise, hyperfocus autism is associated with the ability of your child to pay attention. Hyperfocus is visibly similar to being focussed. However, there’s a clear difference between being focused and being hyper focused. 

One of the main distinctions is its relation to autism. If your child is hyperfocused, they will also have an additional diagnosis of autism or other spectrum disorders. Also, this means that the child will have difficulty in other areas of life, such as socialising, studying, etc. 

Secondly, if you catch your child hyperfocusing, they become nearly completely unaware of everything else in their environment. This means that their capacity to respond to anything else goes down significantly. 

For example, a regular child who is focused on a television show will register and respond to being called for dinner. But, a child who is hyper focused will not only miss hearing the calls for dinner but wouldn’t respond unless disturbed. 

Moreover, hyperfocus on the surface might seem similar to being passionately focussed or in a flow state. There is a clear distinction where those who hyperfocus are unable to shift focus even when they want to , to the point of exhaustion. 

Read more about- Hyperfocus.

Relation Between Hyperfocus and Autism

Accordingly, to understand hyperfocus better, let’s understand how it’s related to autism specifically. 

  1. Primarily, autism also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder. This means that it affects the overall development of the child. It is one of the many spectrum disorders that affect the nervous system and the brain while it’s developing. 
  2. As a result, a child who has autism faces difficulty in several areas of life. Including ability to socialise, ability to learn and ability to concentrate. There can be several other minor difficulties  that often go unnoticed. 
  3. Likewise, children with autism tend to fixate on tasks or topics. This means that there is an increased tendency to stay stuck on a topic or activity. When you consider this in the context of hyperfocus, there are significant similarities. 
  4. Conclusively, hyperfocus or the inability to redshift focus naturally or as needed is compromised. A child with Autism spectrum disorder is most likely going to have a tendency to hyperfocus on specific objects, topics or tasks within their surroundings. 

Is Hyperfocus A Symptom Of Autism 

Owing to a lack of enough scientific direction, it is unclear whether hyperfocus is a symptom of Autism. Rather, children with other spectrum disorders have also shown a tendency to hyperfocus. To ensure that the hyperfocus is indeed related to autism, it is essential that you get your child the right help.

For instance, children with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also have difficulty in channelizing their ability to concentrate. Hence, their increasingly dysfunctional ways of paying attention gets combined with hyper focus.

To learn more about this, you can read – Hyperfixation vs Hyperfocus

Some Signs Of Hyperfocus

Hyperfocus Autism

Other signs of hyper focus development is as follows:

  • Inability to reshift focus or rethink in other directions as required.
  • Hyperfocus is related to specific topics or tasks only and is not applicable to productive tasks.
  • Hyperfocus lasts till exhaustion and isn’t controllable. 

Must Read – Autism Spectrum Disorder

While help can come from different places, it is important to take steps towards managing your child’s autism symptoms. This will not only reduce the impact of hyperfocus autism on their personal lives but also reduce the symptoms. 

Read more about- ADHD Hyperfocus

 What Do You Do If Your Child Has Hyperfocus Autism?

  1. Ideally, if you notice any signs or symptoms of autism especially, with hyperfocus seek out professional help. Consider getting your child tested and diagnosed for confirmation. You will have to reach out to licensed psychologists and psychiatrists. 
  2. Now, along with diagnosis, you need to seek out treatment for autism including medications, therapy, and skill training. This will help your child manage the symptoms and adjust to lifestyle demands. 
  3. Following this, find ways to train your child. Using the help of professionals, try to teach children ways to channelize their energy and focus overall. This will also help deal with hyperfocus tendencies. 
  4. Alternatively, you could use special techniques such as meditation and mindfulness. These techniques will help your child diagnosed with spectrum disorders. These techniques have also helped children in building resilience and a positive outlook in other areas of their lives. 
  5. Finally, accept that situations might still arise where your child is hyper focused. Remembering that management is a process and takes time to take effect. Overall management of autism will help control hyperfocus tendencies as well. 

Must Read-Autism Hyperfixation

Conclusion

In essence, understanding hyperfocus will help you manage your child’s autism as well. Hyperfocus and autism are interrelated, but you find hyperfocus in ADHD as well. Children with hyperfocus might also have other diagnoses. There are several ways you can help your child manage hyperfocus autism. 

Through this article you can understand what hyperfocus is along with its relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder. To reach out for a one stop destination for professional help and all the relevant information, connect to United We Care App.

References

[1]  B. K. Ashinoff and A. Abu-Akel, “Hyperfocus: the Forgotten Frontier of Attention,” Psychological Research, vol. 85, no. 1, Sep. 2019, doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01245-8.

[2]  A. Dupuis, P. Mudiyanselage, C. L. Burton, P. D. Arnold, J. Crosbie, and R. J. Schachar, “Hyperfocus or flow? Attentional strengths in autism spectrum disorder,” Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 13, no. Volume 13 – 2022, p. 886692, 2022, doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.886692.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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