Autism Acceptance: Empathy

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*First posted 4/7/15. Edited
Children and Adults on the spectrum do not lack the ability to have empathy. Sometimes it is just a matter of knowing how to communicate or show the emotion.

  • Cognitive Empathy- The ability t predict other’s thoughts and intentions including the ability to read between the lines during communication
  • Affective empathy- The ability to share another person’s feelings with them
  • Compassionate Empathy- The desire to help others.

When N-Zilla was very small and didn’t have the communication skills that he has now I was sad that maybe possibly I would never hear my son say that he loved me. I obsessed if he would even know how.

I use to be hung up on those things. I’m gonna say it…I was so dumb then. It didn’t take me very long to get over it.

Recently, at the beginning of the school year N-Zilla did something completely inappropriate at school. Still to this day I don’t know why he did what he did. (I don’t know if it was AU or ADHD or OCD or a bad day or whatever.) After talking to his (wonderful) teacher I did my walk of shame back to the car all the while N-Zilla was talking about Minecraft. I asked him if he did what he did. He said yes blanked faced a bit annoyed that I interrupted him. As soon as we all got settled in the car (minivan. Barf) I turned to him and the tears poured over. I ugly cried. I managed to ask N-Zilla why he did what he did. He couldn’t give me an answer. What he did next made me cry even more but this time tears of happiness. He unbuckled and gave me a hug and wiped my tears,

“I’m sorry mommy”.

“Mommy, you sad”?

Sometimes when he is eating he walks up to me and gives me a piece of his food without saying a word. Just last night while I was watching T.V N-Zilla came up to me, licked his finger and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. I just went with it. I know that N-Zilla may not have Cognitive Empathy but I know with all of my heart that he has the ability to share another person’s feelings with them and the desire to help others.

Everything in life Autistic or not boils down to communication.

*Here are links to post about AU and Empathy.

http://www.defyingthespectrum.com/2013/02/14/mythbuster-children-with-autism-are-affectionate/
http://www.defyingthespectrum.com/2014/04/25/autism-empathy-myth-day-2530-going-beyond-autism-awareness-2014/

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