Strategies for Neurotypical People to Develop Empathy for Autistic People

It’s always seemed very unfair to me that autistics have been encouraged to learn to show empathy for and understanding of neurotypicals but the reverse has rarely been the case. When my “Aspie” sons were at school (they were all in mainstream classes) there were many times when I had to explain to their teachers why whichever son it was at the time had reacted in a particular way to whatever situation arose. Sometimes it fell on deaf ears, other times not — and those teachers who made the effort to understand my sons were the ones who had the most positive impact on their learning, both academically and socially, and were also the ones for whom my sons developed the most respect and admiration.

I was very pleased to find and reblog this article from “The Enthusiastic Life”. 🙂

The Enthusiastic Life

Historically, there has been much debate about the extent to which autistic individuals experience empathy. I am using the phrase “autistic individuals” rather than “individuals with autism,” per the recommendation from the Autism Self-Advocacy Network. Recent studies indicate that while autistics may experience and demonstrate empathy in different ways from neurotypicals, they do indeed experience it, sometimes to intense degrees. The debate is well summarized here.

Empathy image credit here

Throughout this discussion, I have observed a curious and glaring omission: what about how and whether neurotypicals empathize with autistics? One of the basic tenets of social skills is reciprocity, an attunement to the back and forth nature of social interactions. If we are examining how well autistics display empathy towards others (the majority of whom are neurotypical), it is only fair to ask how and whether neurotypicals are extending the same courtesy back

In my…

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What your Asperger’s / #ActuallyAutistic friend probably wants you to know

Yes! …this! I reblogged this excellent blog post from “the silent wave” because it’s like the author got inside my head! (and expressed those thoughts far better than I ever could) 😀

the silent wave

Dear allistic friends with autistic friends/friends “with” Asperger’s…

I’m an Aspie.  That is to say that I’m on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum.  Being friends with me/us can be somewhat interesting at times.  We may have “quirks”, habits, rituals, behaviors, or other nuances that you might find confusing, interesting, amusing, annoying, or surprising.  You may wonder why we do/did or say/said something in particular.

I’m going to “let you in” on (my personal take on) friendships and bonding with an Aspergian/autistic person.  Anything I’m about to say probably won’t apply to all Asperger’s/autistic people; we’re all different, after all, and we need to be considered as such. 🙂

(I realize that I switch back and forth between “I/me” and “we/us” a lot; that is intentional.  I can only speak for myself, yet I have interacted with many other people on the spectrum, either passively by reading their writing, or actively by talking/chatting…

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Empathizing with sensory and movement differences: moving toward sensitive understanding of autism

Front. Integr. Neurosci., 24 May 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2013.00038

  • Human Development and Psychology Division, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The autism diagnosis requires deficits in social interaction and communication, yet neither occurs in isolation. This brief literature-based analysis provides evidence that other factors are involved in autistic people’s atypical social communication. Continue reading “Empathizing with sensory and movement differences: moving toward sensitive understanding of autism”

Theory finds that individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome don’t lack empathy – in fact if anything they empathize too much

Seventh Voice

Art work by Aegis Mario S. Nevado Art work by Aegis Mario S. Nevado

“A ground-breaking theory suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”

“People with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, are often stereotyped as distant loners or robotic geeks. But what if what looks like coldness to the outside world is a response to being overwhelmed by emotion – an excess of empathy, not a lack of it?

This idea resonates with many people suffering from autism-spectrum disorders and their families. It also jibes with the “intense world” theory, a new way of thinking about the nature of autism.

As posited by Henry and Kamila Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the theory suggests that the fundamental problem in autism-spectrum disorders is not a social deficiency but, rather, a hypersensitivity to experience…

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High Functioning Autism in Females

When I read the article below it stirred up so many memories and feelings of frustration that I felt compelled to reblog it here.

I don’t have a daughter, but of course I am a daughter and I believe I am probably somewhere on the autism spectrum. When I was a young child (50+ years ago) nothing was known about Aspergers syndrome and autism was the result of “frigid mothers”. Kids didn’t have “behavioural disorders” they were just plain naughty and undisciplined – everything was blamed on bad parenting – and people never took their shy, awkward, socially clueless daughters to be assessed by a psychologist. So, I bumbled through life as best I could – as everyone does – but always wondering how other people “knew stuff” that I didn’t but was somehow supposed to know, and why I was often told by my mother in her angry/frustrated/scolding tone, “You’re old enough to have more sense!” Continue reading “High Functioning Autism in Females”

Autism, Paganism, Psychic Ability & the Paranormal ~ Updated

Introduction

I wrote the original version of this article (based on some of my previous writings here, “tweaked” and improved a little, with some new content added) for the April 2009 Axis Mundi eNewsletter for “Autism Awareness Month”, after which it also appeared in the May 2009 edition of The Cosmic Cauldron Newsletter (no longer published). It was written at that time with an emphasis on paganism, rather than the paranormal. Naturally I also posted it here on my blog, titled Autism, Psychic Abilities, the Paranormal and Paganism …is there a connection? In June 2010 that blog post was linked to by U.S. online radio station Coast to Coast AM, when they interviewed author William Stillman about Continue reading “Autism, Paganism, Psychic Ability & the Paranormal ~ Updated”

Dragon Drumming

This is the story of how my newest drum came to be.

In the beginning…

It was over a year ago now, in late August 2010, when I discovered the music of Caiseal Mór via Facebook. The following month I bought a couple of his albums, The Well of Yearning and Flow (I have recently also bought Alchemy for the Heart) as well as 2 of his books, What is Magic? then shortly afterwards, his autobiography A Blessing and A Curse: Autism and Me. I was fascinated while reading about the process involved in creating his drums, with how he tunes the drum shell, speaks to the skins and also connects with the spirit of each drum he makes. At that stage I’d never seen what Caiseal’s drums looked like, but I already knew I’d really love to have one. Continue reading “Dragon Drumming”

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