Monotropism

In Practice

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.

Perhaps, though, it is really its practical applications that demand the most attention – at school, at play, at work and in mental health.

tree tunnel by Sonny Hallett

School

Play and Learning

Monotropism and Flow States – see also Studio III Atlass – Damian Milton explains the ‘flow state’

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.

Mental Health

Skip to content