So why do so many people see a lack of empathy as a defining characteristic of ASD?
Virtually all people with ASD report various types of oversensitivity and intense fear.
The presence of these projects coincides with a sharp increase in occurrences and diagnoses of ASD cases in the U.S.
“Anyone who has a valid diagnosis of ASD [autism-spectrum disorder] now should not have to get a rediagnosis,” she said.
For people with ASD, these empathetic feelings might be so intense that they withdraw in a way that appears cold or uncaring.
But for the millions of teens and young adults with an ASD, is it a missed opportunity to present a valuable role model?
Also, white children are more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than black and Hispanic children.
Singer believes that the changing numbers are a result of broadening the criteria for who is included under an ASD diagnosis.
“We have come to think of ASD as people with [only] social deficits,” says Singer.
But he adds, “I think most people with ASD feel emotional empathy and care about the welfare of others very deeply.”