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Old 12-07-17, 09:11 AM
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Re: Empathy: I believe People with ASD -DO- HAVE EMPATHY

My partner has Asperger's Syndrome, and I know he does feel empathy because when I have told him about people in my life passing away, he feels sad for me. He even cried when I was crying about my Uncle passing away.

My view of Asperger's (I don't know about the rest of the spectrum) is that it is a condition where the person has an inability to pick out the important parts of the sensory information they receive, so they take everything in at the same level, which can be very overwhelming given that their brains are probably structured like normal ones for the most part, just without the part that filters sensory information correctly. As a neurotypical my brain just tries to process the important parts of what's happening, but I believe people with Asperger's cannot do this. That is why people with Asperger's cannot look at faces easily (too much emotional information, and it feels too intimate in a way), why they have excellent recall of some situations in their past (my partner can remember and describe events like he's looking at a photograph or a movie, to a level of detail that I cannot manage), why they find noise overwhelming, and why they cannot understand implied meanings of things that are said to them.

I know my partner is a gentle and loving person, even so he sometimes says things that sound hurtful to me without meaning to. It is impossible for him to use implied meaning in what he says, because his brain prevents him from being able to learn it as he doesn't process it from other people when they are talking to him - also, when I say things to him he takes them as if I was someone with Asperger's saying it to him, and obviously I take what he says as if it was someone with a neurotypical brain saying it to me! I think that is where the communication issues between us arise from.

We both have ADHD though, which I think is why we felt a connection to one another when we first met. I also think his ADHD interacts with the Asperger's in interesting ways. It makes him more spontaneous and silly than he would otherwise be with just Asperger's, but it can also be negative in that his Asperger's prevents him from picking up the importance of things I say that are emotionally-based, and then because his Aspie-brain has registered it as "not important", his ADHD-brain fails to act upon it! That can be very difficult sometimes, but I love him so I try to be as understanding as possible, and as direct as possible when I tell him that he hasn't done something he should have in these sort of situations.

I'd be interested to know what other people think of what I've just said, so please respond and let me know (if you have Asperger's, I would like you to try to be as nice as you can if you disagree).
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