It is often advised that people on the autism spectrum will develop better social skills and enjoy socialising more if they socialise around their special interest. There’s probably a lot of truth to that – for reasons including:
There will be a predictable topic to talk about (the interest)
There may be something else to focus on (if the interest is practical) as opposed to the ‘socialising’
The individual might have greater confidence as they are likely to know a lot about the topic
It may also be sensible to recognise that, although social skills may improve, the enjoyment or interest in the interest may be different or may even get less if there are other people involved. Pursuing an interest in solitude is a completely different experience to pursuing an interest with others. For me, I treat them as separate things.
Have you ever tried to participate in something you like, with other people? Have you tried to encourage your autistic loved one to participate in something you know they like, with other people? How did those experiences turn out? For me, many times they were more stressful than enjoyable. In this article I will discuss some reasons for this. I will use the example of weightlifting/exercise/fitness for ease of reading (since it applies to me), but you can think about how each aspect relates to your interest.