Infodump

Two people sit on the floor facing each other and holding hands. Puzzle pieces and swirls float over their heads evoking conversational infodumping
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Having a special interest is like having a crush or being newly in love. It is consuming and delightful. We love to share our special interests and a common example of autistic empathy is encouraging others to talk in great detail- “infodump”- about their SpIns.

It is considered a sign of caring and friendship to encourage someone to talk to you about their SpIn- whether or not you actually share their interest- because nothing makes an autistic person happier than discussing, learning about, or sharing about, their SpIn.

It is also quite acceptable in autistic culture to “infodump” on a topic whenever it happens to come up. To autists (an insider short-hand for autistic people), the sharing of knowledge and information is always welcome.

7 Cool Aspects of Autistic Culture » NeuroClastic

Header image credit: Betsy Selvam

But one thing is particularly important to my purposes here: our hyperfixations adore company, and if an autistic person is given the opportunity to share their passion for the subject with friends, relatives or complete strangers, then you can expect high levels of enthusiasm, enormous amounts of data and information to be delivered, and impressive levels of knowledge. In short, if you want to be taught something, you can do a lot worse than be taught about it by an autistic person for whom it is one of their special interests. I have been taught about various subjects by openly autistic people and the experience has invariably been truly fantastic, and my understanding of the topic afterwards deep and thorough.

Learning From Autistic Teachers (pp. 30-31)

INFO DUMPING

  • Talking alot about a topic in great detail
  • Telling someone about a special interest
  • A way of building a connection with someone
  • Sharing extensive knowledge about a topic
  • A way to initiate an interaction
  • Longer conversational turns
  • Overlapping speech during the conversation
  • Showing someone how much you know about a subject
  • Sharing excitement about a topic

Neurodivergent people who use speech love to info-dump and is a valid way of sharing information. The feeling of being so passionate about something can feel so exhilarating. To a neurotypical person this is often labelled as: poor turn-taking, social deficits, interrupting, lack of reciprocity, ignores social cues, repetitive, verbose, lack of awareness of social conventions.

It’s all about perception. If we re-frame these ‘deficits’ and view them through a neurodiversity lens, we can acknowledge that autistic communication is just a different way of communicating.

Communication Features | AutisticSLT

Listening to the monotropic people in your life infodump about their SpIns is a love language.

Further reading,

Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic retired technologist turned wannabe-sociologist. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they