Autism and Empathy

by Tara

I have watched my son’s emotional development for a decade with a sense of curiosity and fascination. His atypical emotional responses have piqued my interest. After years of keen observation, I would question anyone who suggested he lacked empathy as a result of his autism. Even prior to his diagnosis, when he was a toddler, I noticed the intensity of his reactions to the emotions of others.

I even suspect that his intense sensitivities and resulting withdrawal looks like a lack of emotion or disassociation from people or situations. I remember vividly his first haircut. Initially, his distress was within what I would call “normal limits.” After a little while, it escalated. I relayed my concerns to the hairdresser, who assured me that it was common for children to cry for their first visit. I felt uncomfortable, but not wanting to seem overprotective, I waited a while longer…

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