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Nava R. Silton, Ph.D

Marymount Manhattan College
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A collection of stories, experiences and uplifting tales regarding the world of disabilities and the individuals who have them.

A New Theory on ASD States that Individuals Don’t Lack Empathy, But Have Too Much

Nava Silton

People often characterize individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or what was previously known as Asperger’s Disorder, as lacking the ability to emphasize with others and more harshly as cold and robotic. A new theory claims that this is not false, but that people with ASD actually feel more empathy than typically developing people… so much so, that it is overwhelming. This theory suggests that ASD is not characterized by a social deficit, but rather as a hypersensitivity to experience. Thus the typical symptoms of people with ASD, withdrawal and self-soothing behaviors, are just ways of coping with the overstimulation of emotions. It is true that it takes children with ASD longer than their peers to develop theory of mind, or the ability to recognize that other people have different perspectives, but it is not necessarily true that once these children do develop theory of mind, that they do not care. This theory can really change the way that doctors, teachers and other specialists perceive children with ASD, but first more research needs to be done. Read the full article here.