Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco. Today’s post is about a popular misconception about autism: ‘autistic people have no empathy’.
It is true that autistic people can struggle with interpreting and processing both verbal and non verbal information and cues but that doesn’t mean that autistic people don’t have empathy.
Some autistic people may struggle to recognise different emotions but autistic people do have empathy. Some autistic people are able to recognise emotions and empathise with them but they can struggle with what to do with these emotions or how to react with them. Some autistic people have empathy and may find it easier than other autistic people to react to or interpret these feelings and respond to them.
Because autism is a spectrum disorder, all autistic people will have different experiences of empathy but no matter what those experiences are, autistic people do have empathy.
The stick drawing above demonstrates how I experience empathy. I can recognise people’s emotions but I often find myself taking time to think about how to react and how to respond to that person. For example if someone is feeling upset, I wonder whether it is right to comfort them with words or to give them a hug. I often worry about what to say when responding to someone’s emotions because I don’t want to say the wrong thing and upset anyone further.
Thank you very much for reading and please share your experiences of empathy, neurodiverse and neurotypical alike!
Charlotte from Neureco X