Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autism and Empathy

An oft-repeated dogma is that us autistics have deficits in Empathy. This is something an increasing number of us reject. I certainly have problems with intuitively understanding the nonverbal communication of others, so I can appear to be superficially uncaring, but when I know somebody is hurting I respond the same way anyone else with a heart does, perhaps even more so. And even though I have trouble with individual bits of non-verbal communication I can still "sense" the emotions in an area, indeed, I am hypersensitive it seems like. I just don't know from who they are coming from unless it's blatantly obvious.

A prime example of this was earlier this year when a good friend who is physically disabled was raped. I was so upset that I had trouble functioning for a week. I still flinch, get agitated and even burst out sobbing when rape and sexual assault is mentioned on the news or in coversation and haven't been able to watch Law and Order: SVU since. If that is not Empathy I don't know what is.

I find it ridiculous that neurotypical (non-autistic) people accuse us of having problems with empathy while at the same time refusing to see things from our perspective.


  1. I am so sad for your friend and for you to have to go through that recently.

    And, yes, that is empathy.


  2. I clicked the link to this blog from another forum that you post on. It's such a worthwhile blog. I find this particular post a compassionate and necessary reminder to those of us who don't frequently interact with those who have Asperger's. Thanks.