Recently a blogger I follow decided to describe the symptoms of autism and how they are used in the new addition of the DSM- 5 to diagnose ASD. Here is what I will say about the blogger, she is a well educated individual. She has her PhD in sped with a concentration in Autism. She is a mommy of NT children. What she did was give the textbook definition of autism.
The one thing that stood out to me in her post was that children with autism do not have/show empathy. While children/adults/individuals with autism display emotions differently than the neurotypicals of the world, they still show it. When my son noticed me laying on the couch the other night while watching TV, he brought me a blanket and covered me up. This little boy who spends his days looking at the world another way showed he noticed me and cared. When lil girl (a point or two shy of being diagnosed) saw her big sister cry at the dentist, she held her hand and patted her leg. She saw a need in another person and offered comfort in the exact way I do.
My 3 year old daughter may not have told me “I love you mommy” yet, but she shows it. After I braided her hair tonight, she gave me a hug. When I am away from the house she waits up for me before she will settle down to rest and sleep. Part of it may be her need for routine and having me home before she will sleep, but when I walk through the door at the end of a long day and night, she yells MOMMY and I know I am loved. When my son is angry or wound tight he seeks me out for deep pressure and cuddles. Even though I may not get “happy birthday mommy” or “happy Mother’s day” I know I am loved and cared for by my son.
The common statement that individuals with autism lack empathy is a myth. People need to realize that it is shown in a different way and they need to learn and/or be taught how to see it. Our children and adults deserve to be better understood. People should know that they are more than a list of character traits listed in a set of diagnostic criteria.