You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Have Empathy

You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Have Empathy – This is one of the autism myths bugs me the most.
Have you heard this one? #AskingAutistics



#ActuallyAutistic #YouCantBeAutisticBecause
#Neurodiversity #Empathy

10 thoughts on “You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Have Empathy

  1. The version I’ve heard most often is, ‘You think you care how other people feel, but you don’t.’ And of course disagreeing with that statement, or even just saying I don’t understand how someone else can claim to know better than I do how I feel/don’t feel, is itself taken as proof that I lack empathy — something about how, if I had empathy, I’d agree with the other person’s assessment of me.

  2. So much this! If anything, I have an abundance of empathy. Funnily enough, what I’ve observed from my own experience, and the experience of other autistic folk, is that one of the biggest challenges faced by the community is a lack of empathy from non-autistic folk – obviously ‘non-autistic’ folk (and terms like ‘neurotypical’) is a broad-church, and I don’t want to generalise about a large group of diverse people here, but time and again, charges are levelled against autistic people that are also in-fact traits of non-autistic people – lack of empathy, poor at socialising etc.

    I think, as with all things, autistic people just empathise differently, they socialise differently, and it is this ‘difference’ that is often ascribed a value of being ‘less than’ by the standards of non-autistic people – yet if they themselves (the non-autistic folk who make these claims) were so good at empathy and socialising, surely the autistic community wouldn’t see such high rates of unemployment, depression, isolation, social anxiety etc – these things are responses to (and resultant from) external lack of empathy, anti-social behaviour etc… not that I blame non-autistic folk for this (see, I’m empathetic!), it’s just a result of their lack of exposure / deeply ingrained societal norms, but I do wish they’d be a little more self aware, and aware of the inherent contradictions, when they make such claims.

    1. I see this in my son. He is an incredibly compassionate individual. He processes it differently. That is all. It’s like when my husband and I take different roads to get to our church. Each route gets us there. One isn’t better than the other.

  3. I encounter stereotypical views of autism somewhat often. I’ve known doctors who – without a second thought – dismiss autistics as lacking empathy. It’s a view that’s found its way into “common wisdom” without challenge, probably because the assumption has been held in psychiatry for so long.

    I recall a time years ago when I explained to a doctor some of the things that Christa happens to mention in her video. The doctor simply said “that’s not empathy” and then changed the subject…

  4. Its literally built into the tools they use to assess us. How are we supposed to get rid of such a dangerous myth, if professionals are still being taught it as fact?

  5. Never knew an autistic person without empathy. My best friend and Sister have Asperger’s and my Father is diagnosed too; I’m beginning to wonder about myself (we all are adhd and have depression sans our Dad, so things overlap sometimes too). I was always been told that Autistic people have issues in social situations as in not understanding social queues. Like my siblings and I would sit snd talk about social situations to try make sure we understood them whenever they confused us or were worried about it just to make sure we all understood it. We still do it with my sister, er did.

    Anyway, If you’re not learning how to communicate socially at home well or at school well, you’re gonna make mistakes. We are HUMAN that is part of how we learn: by making mistakes.

    I never really learned how to communicate effectively or understand others well until I learned in therapy. Understanding the emotional bit, not the words. I SUCK at subtlety!

    It isn’t just an “autistic” issue. I think it really comes down to how we communicate and we are taught this as children from family, friends, and school. These are not always correct and the expectations change with age or big events in our world. I wish there were Standards to communicating like there is in language, like Standard American English or Castilian Spanish. There are rules and expectations that everyone is taught. Communicate not so much.

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