Theory finds that individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome don’t lack empathy – in fact if anything they empathize too much

Seventh Voice

“A ground-breaking theory suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”

“People with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, are often stereotyped as distant loners or robotic geeks. But what if what looks like coldness to the outside world is a response to being overwhelmed by emotion – an excess of empathy, not a lack of it?

This idea resonates with many people suffering from autism-spectrum disorders and their families. It also jibes with the “intense world” theory, a new way of thinking about the nature of autism.

As posited by Henry and Kamila Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the theory suggests that the fundamental problem in autism-spectrum disorders is not a social deficiency but, rather, a hypersensitivity to experience, which includes an overwhelming fear response.


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3 thoughts on “Theory finds that individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome don’t lack empathy – in fact if anything they empathize too much

  1. Thank you for re-posting this, it is ground breaking, indeed! My eldest son was diagnosed with ASD last June and he definitely has his moments of extreme empathy. We are still in the brand-newness, trying to learn his ASD and how best to wrap our worlds around it without changing at thing. (He doesn’t do well with change.) 🙂

    • You are very welcome. My daughter Grace is 14 now and was diagnosed at age 3; it’s been a long journey, simultaneously excruciating and rewarding. We are still learning. Many blessings to you and yours – today and for all the days if your own journey. 🙂

      • My son is also 14, but he was diagnosed late because it was assumed that his behavior was associated with his ADD. Finally, I got to the point where I realized that he wasn’t growing out of things he should have been growing out of by this age and took him to a neurologist. I wish I would have taken him sooner, but so far, he is adjusting well, though slowly, in getting to know why he is the remarkable person that he is. Thank you for your blessings! I wish the same for you and your family, and for the work you put into helping others. 🙂

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