“They” say people with autism lack empathy and compassion. I’m not sure who “they” are but I think they are kind of like the people who pass those ridiculous education laws…they like to talk about something they know nothing about.
Does M have a hard time understanding the viewpoint of others? Definitely. When she is overwhelmed is she 100% concentrated on her senses & set on whatever will make her feel better, without regard to other people whatsoever? Yes. Does she lack empathy and compassion? Absolutely not.
I have mentioned before that sat the charter school M attends they have a monthly “moral focus” (and I have to brag that in November M won the award for her class for the moral focus of gratitude 🙂 ). This month’s moral focus is compassion. To kick of the month & the new focus, an assembly was held (she hates assemblies by the way…thank God for her noise reducing headphones) where they introduced a boy who has MD. The school is raising a lot of money to help the family adapt their home now that he is in a wheelchair, and asking the students to collect coins (or bills) for this project.
M immediately at pick up told me about this boy & what he and his mother go through and what they need, in detail. She proceeded to tell me she feels badly for both of them and wants to give all of her money (around $10) for this boy and his mom. She said she was a little sad that she couldn’t buy anything now (she loves the independent feeling of using her own money to buy gum, for example), but decided they need it much more than she does. We got home and she immediately took her $7 from a family egg hunt and put it in an envelope to donate. As soon as she finds her wallet, you can be assured she will take in every bill and coin she has, and ask everyone else to donate, too.
This is not unusual for M. When she is doing well she often will give up just about anything to her little sister if she asks. She makes pictures for people all the time. She is truly a compassionate, giving little girl.
As a side note, we talked about how we shouldn’t really feel bad for someone for being in a wheelchair, because there is nothing wrong with needing a wheelchair, but of course we feel bad for the circumstances they face due to their home not being adapted. (Just like I don’t want someone feeling bad for her because she has Asperger’s, but they might feel badly that she is having trouble coping in a crowd due to overstimulation, for example.)
So “they” are wrong. Don’t ever let anyone tell you who your child is or what they can or can not accomplish. Because this Aspie has a LOT of empathy and compassion!