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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Autism & Empathy?

Posted by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Amy
  • 31 Replies

Do you find that your child who has autism has more empathy than a child who is not on the spectrum?

All of my kids are empathetic, but my high functioning little guy seems to have more than the others.  He's always looking out for his big brother and sister, wants to help kids less fortunate, etc.  When my daughter came to me asking if a friend who was otherwise going to spend Christmas alone could spend it with us instead, my little guy piped up with "Of course, she can't be alone on Christmas!"  :)

by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM
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Replies (1-10):
kajira
by Emma on Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Not that I noticed. I notice that some seem to have a high amount ot wanting to take care of others, or help them. I have the "Help others" thing going on - but I don't have empathy, I don't *feel* what other people feel. I have sympathy, I can try and relate, I can try and understand how they might be feeling, but the way they define empathy as feeling what the other person feels... nope.

jowen905
by Jan on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

That's great that all of your kids are empathetic!  My husband is lacking in empathy, but he never gets his feelings hurt, he honestly doesn't care what other people think of him and he is not a worrier, so he cannot understand other people having those feelings - me included, lol.

I'm not sure about my 12 year old feeling empathy, but I do know that when others physically around him are upset or sad it makes him sad, but I don't know if that's because he doesn't like the disruption of how he planned the day to go or if he's actually feeling empathy.  We've had many talks about it - like "can you imagine how that person feels after such and such happened to them?".....I don't really see that he "gets" it.  However, I do know that when he's around a friend of our's severely autistic child, he is very accommodating to this little guy, sits next to him and retrieves all the items that the boy throws around.  And he talks very kindly to him.....that makes me proud. 

johnns
by Johnna on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:22 PM
Yes, my Sally Rose is very empathetic to others. She's the first one to come to the rescue when another little kid is crying at school. She's not even over bearing with it either. If one of the kids at school is upset she will ask what's wrong- usually the other kid will get more upset, so Sally will just set down with them for support. Its cute as all get out!
emarin77
by Silver Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Sometimes and other times no, this was the same when he was younger.  I am still teaching him.

amonkeymom
by Amy on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Thank you for explaining that.  Perhaps it's not so much empathy that my son is feeling as it is sympathy?  

Quoting kajira:

Not that I noticed. I notice that some seem to have a high amount ot wanting to take care of others, or help them. I have the "Help others" thing going on - but I don't have empathy, I don't *feel* what other people feel. I have sympathy, I can try and relate, I can try and understand how they might be feeling, but the way they define empathy as feeling what the other person feels... nope.


amonkeymom
by Amy on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:38 PM

That is so sweet that your little guy is like that with the other child.  My son is like that with younger children as well, especially babies and toddlers.  

Quoting jowen905:

That's great that all of your kids are empathetic!  My husband is lacking in empathy, but he never gets his feelings hurt, he honestly doesn't care what other people think of him and he is not a worrier, so he cannot understand other people having those feelings - me included, lol.

I'm not sure about my 12 year old feeling empathy, but I do know that when others physically around him are upset or sad it makes him sad, but I don't know if that's because he doesn't like the disruption of how he planned the day to go or if he's actually feeling empathy.  We've had many talks about it - like "can you imagine how that person feels after such and such happened to them?".....I don't really see that he "gets" it.  However, I do know that when he's around a friend of our's severely autistic child, he is very accommodating to this little guy, sits next to him and retrieves all the items that the boy throws around.  And he talks very kindly to him.....that makes me proud. 


amonkeymom
by Amy on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Aww!  I love that!  Sally is a sweet heart!

Quoting johnns: Yes, my Sally Rose is very empathetic to others. She's the first one to come to the rescue when another little kid is crying at school. She's not even over bearing with it either. If one of the kids at school is upset she will ask what's wrong- usually the other kid will get more upset, so Sally will just set down with them for support. Its cute as all get out!


amonkeymom
by Amy on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I don't think the teaching ever stops though, does it?

Quoting emarin77:

Sometimes and other times no, this was the same when he was younger.  I am still teaching him.


kajira
by Emma on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Thats generally how I think of it, we can logically imagine how someone else might feel, like being alone for christmas would make us feel sad and lonely, so we probably wouldn't want someone else to feel the same way because we know it would make us feel bad.

Sympathy, and trying to feel compassion for others, in my opinion is not reading someone's face and body language and instinctively identifying+feeling their emotions.

If someone is sad, I don't always notice unless they tell me, and at that point, I can try to do something about it, or offer comfort, but it's a concious effort to do so.

Quoting amonkeymom:

Thank you for explaining that.  Perhaps it's not so much empathy that my son is feeling as it is sympathy?  

Quoting kajira:

Not that I noticed. I notice that some seem to have a high amount ot wanting to take care of others, or help them. I have the "Help others" thing going on - but I don't have empathy, I don't *feel* what other people feel. I have sympathy, I can try and relate, I can try and understand how they might be feeling, but the way they define empathy as feeling what the other person feels... nope.



carterscutie85
by Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM
1 mom liked this

Definitely, he feels things more deeply than other kids. At the same time he can't read facial expressions/social cues, so it has to be something he sees and understands.

For example we were watching a movie where 3 people were stranded on an island, one of them got separated. He got very upset over that person being separated but at the same time wouldn't notice if I was upset or mad about something.


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