Journal of Educational Leadership in Action


Maggie Bredlau


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is currently being diagnosed at a rate of 1 in 68 children (Katz, Malow, & Reynolds, 2016). According to the DSM-V a diagnosis of autism carries with it two identifying characteristics: 1. consistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across more than one context; 2. restricted, repetitive interests that are evident through highly fixated odd interests. Children with autism can have difficulty finding ways to incorporate these highly-fixated interests into their daily lives. Research indicated that when individuals on the spectrum can incorporate their fixations into daily interactions and routines their self-esteem, social connections, career opportunities, independence, and quality of life drastically improve (“Students with Autism,” 2016). The research methods that were used to discover this concept were scholarly articles, memoirs, educational websites, and textbooks. The focus of this article is to inform the reader about the many ways in which special interests can be used to increase positive experiences for individuals on the spectrum. By educating support teams (i.e. parents, special education teachers, general education teachers, counselors, and advocates) on how to incorporate an individual’s special interests into daily routines and interactions, we are creating positive learning environments that will facilitate the individual’s quality of life.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.