Assumptions and Autism: My Child Has Empathy
By Yeah, Good Times on October 13, 2011
What assumptions do you make about children (or adults) with autism? Do you automatically assume that they lack empathy, that they cannot connect with others on an emotional level? Jillsmo at Yeah, Good Times wants you to know that if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. Just like "the rest of us," people with autism react differently to different things.
I loved her recent post about her younger child (who does not have autism) being a good "social teacher" for her older child (who does have autism). The story warmed my heart for many reasons. First and foremost, it's just really cool to see any siblings getting along and wanting to spend time together, don't you think? It's also an important post because it continues to break down stereotypes and teach us more about children with autism.
When discussing autistic people, "professionals" often say that a common trait is a lack of empathy. I have always held the belief that this is complete horseshit and that my child with autism has more empathy than your average typical adult. I know this, because I know my kid, but others might not notice it because he's bad at verbally communicating his feelings: a much more common trait among autistic people. A typical person expects a certain emotional reaction to specific circumstances and when they don't get that from the autistic person they will assume that it's because that person lacks empathy, when the truth is that they're just bad at telling or showing you how they're feeling.
I've talked before about how Child 2 is the best possible "social skills" teacher for Child 1, and every day I see Child 1 becoming more and more verbal about his feelings and opinions. Have I mentioned that's awesome? Because that's awesome.
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