Monotropism is powerful as a theory of autism: a way of thinking about it not as a set of deficits, but as a different, more focused strategy for using attention.
- Autistic children and intense interests: makes the case that interests can be key to their educational inclusion (Rebecca Wood 2019). This is an accessible summary of her paper Autism, intense interests and support in school: From wasted efforts to shared understandings (2019).
- Autism tips for teachers – by an autistic teacher (Fergus Murray 2019) is a set of guidelines for teachers on how best to work with monotropic learners.
- Inclusive Education for Autistic Children (book, Rebecca Wood 2019) is a comprehensive guide, making use of a Monotropism framing to explain how schools fail to include autistic children, and how we can do better.
- Learning From Autistic Teachers (book, ed. Wood et al 2022) has Monotropism as a running theme – with autistic teachers using their own passionate interests and those of their students to inspire and motivate me. Becky was also interviewed about this for Scottish Autism’s Share Magazine.
- Understanding how autistic pupils experience secondary school (PhD thesis, Julie Leatherland 2019) makes a strong case that Monotropism makes more sense of autistic pupils’ secondary school experiences than any other available theory.
- Craft, Flow and Cognitive Styles (conference talk, Fergus Murray 2021) explores the role of flow in learning, and what that means for monotropic and other minds.
Play and Learning
- How Using ‘Interests’ Can Help Build Connection to Understanding and to Developing Skills (Wenn Lawson) – ‘As autistic individuals we find it heaps easier to connect to understanding when the topic, sentence, concept or idea you are wanting us to appreciate can be related in some way to areas of our interest or attention.’
- Building Super-Highways – Why Monotropism Works for Autistics (Nanny Aut 2021) – ‘We play differently, because we learn differently, because our brains are wired differently.’
- Learning to play. No. Playing to learn. (Nanny Aut 2021) – ‘Autistic children focus on the mechanics of the world, through pattern making and identifying connections. We organise, sort, line up and categorise.’
- Autistic Play at Forest School : pretend play characteristics seen otherwise (Stefania Donzelli 2021) ‘one key step is to acknowledge the existence of patterns in the ways autistic children experience play and think about their play behaviours not as something puzzling or problematic, but rather as characteristics of autistic play culture‘
- The double empathy problem: salience and interpersonal flow (slides, Damian Milton 2018) – ‘the flow-like states brought about by the pursuit of ‘special interests’ or the repetition of actions can be seen as a necessary coping strategy for people and not ‘behaviours’ to be controlled or regulated.’
Work and Life
- Staying Put, Monotropism & Me (Jamie Knight 2021) introduces the idea of planning ‘tunnels not tasks’. ‘Rather than drilling the tunnels (which consumes vast energy – ADHD folks know what I mean!) I need the environment to open up a space for the tunnel to pass through.‘
- Applying Monotropism (Jamie Knight 2022) expands on this, talking about the idea of impatience in terms of focus tunnels losing momentum while waiting for things.
- Living Little in a Tiny Home (Jamie Knight 2021) talks about being monotropic and ‘living little’: ‘As my world got smaller & simpler I noticed that I was happier. I was more productive and more able to do things.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself. Being monotropic I function best when I focus on a handful of things and work carefully to establish flowy ‘attention tunnels’.’
- Why Does Work Not Work for Autistic People? (Janine Booth 2021) – ‘How and why is employment hostile to autistic people? How useful are the main autism theories in explaining this?’ Monotropism offers the best potential for doing so, but further research is required!
- The Future I’d Like to See (Dinah Murray 2017) talks about what it would take for autistic people to thrive – and the potential that could be unlocked if we were able to focus on our powerful focused interests.
- Understanding How Routines Can Help Autistic People Thrive (Fergus Murray 2022) explains why routines can be so important for autistic people, and crucially, why imposing them from outside often backfires.
- Loops of Concern (guide, Sonny Hallett 2021) is a short self-help guide to tackling rumination for autistic people (may also be useful for others).
- Autism and Mental Health in a Social Context (lecture and slides, Damian Milton 2018) discusses monotropism, flow states, and the double empathy problem in relation to autism and autistic mental health.
- A Conceptual Analysis of Autistic Masking: Understanding the Narrative of Stigma and the Illusion of Choice (paper, Pearson and Rose 2021) explores what monotropism means for identity formation and self-presentation.
- A conceptual model of risk and protective factors for autistic burnout (Jane Mantzalas et al 2022) talks about the role of intense interests and flow in maintaining autistic wellbeing and recovering from burnout.
- Neurodiversity, Autism & Recovery from Sexual Violence (book/ebook in parts, Susy Ridout 2020) (review) uses the lens of monotropism to talk about autistic trauma and healing.
- Learning with Autisha (Helen Mirra 2021) – ‘A practitioner contemplates the intersection of autism and awakening’ draws the connection between a monotropic attentional style, and habits of thought traditionally held in high esteem in Buddhism.