A ground-breaking 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 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.
by Maia Szalavitz