Charlotte doesn’t suffer from lack of empathy; she is overwhelmed by it

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Charlotte’s progress has been substantial in the two years since she began therapy, but I hesitate to dwell too much on it. Charlotte isn’t valuable because her tolerance for riding in a car has increased or she’s learned to initiate play with preferred peers. Charlotte has always been valuable, whether she’s melting down in the corner of the classroom or quietly working on her reading.

I often see autism described as having a lack of empathy, but I find that hard to believe. Charlotte lacks a sophisticated understanding of how other people think, but she has an innate sense of how they feel. She finds ways to comfort people who are hurting, even when they do their best not to show it, and she is the first one to draw a picture or make a card for someone in need.

When we pass a homeless person on the street, she is moved to tears at the thought of someone living without a home. Charlotte doesn’t suffer from lack of empathy; she is overwhelmed by it.

— Jody Allard (Washington Post)

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