A Radical New Autism Theory: study suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders do not lack empathy

A groundbreaking study 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 in fact 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 new thinking about the nature of autism called the “intense world” theory.

 

by Maia Szalavitz

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