Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another thought on empathy

Yes, the controversial empathy word. Just something that I thought about today while I was driving somewhere:

I am autistic, and I have difficulty when it comes to reading non-autistic people. I find it hard to know what they feel, and sometimes it is hard to understand why they feel the way they do. And personally I also often find it hard to know how to respond once I do understand, because their needs are different from mine. Aha, you would say - I lack empathy.

But then - non-autistic people have difficulty when it comes to reading autistic people. They find it hard to know what we feel, and sometimes it is hard for them to understand why we feel the way we do. And they also often find it hard to know how to respond once they do understand, because our needs are different from theirs. So would you come to the same conclusion - that they lack empathy?

Probably not. Why - does the difference lie in numbers? Because there are so many non-autistic people, their difficulty is not worth noting, and because we are a minority, our difficulty is a symptom of a disorder? I find it hard to get my head around that.

2 comments:

  1. Cecile, you really brought that point home. This was just an excellent post. Thank you for writing it. I agree. It's so wrong that we should be seen as lacking empathy because we do not have the same communication styles as NTs. You're right, I think it comes down to numbers. It seems like that's the way it always is in societies.

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