Many people believe that children and adults with autism don’t always show empathy. Some don’t, or very little, but there are a lot that do, sometimes even more than the “typical” person.
My son Joseph is a 15-year-old boy with autism who has very challenging behavioral issues, as well as anxiety disorder, and sensory issues. Joseph was always a boy that was very empathetic to other people, despite sometimes being physically aggressive to others. I believe it’s more of his frustration, being that he is so bright and pretty verbal, but still not able to express his wants and needs, and all the thoughts that must run through his mind, that he can’t keep up with his own thought process, if that makes any sense.
There was a time one morning when Joseph was sitting in his classroom concentrating very hard, which is an accomplishment in itself, being that he is so hyperactive and hardly sit stills, that one of the aides in the classroom had to capture the moment.
Joseph overheard one of the classroom aides telling another aide that she had a rough morning, and didn’t have a chance to have breakfast, or even pack lunch! Well, Joseph was eating his morning snack and was very hungry at the time, but he looked down at his snack then up at the teacher aide and then said, “Here Miss Kelly have my snack!”
She just looked at him with tears in her eyes and had no words, but just walked up to him and gave him a big hug! She called me later that day to tell me that she never expected him to say that to her and he sure made her day!!
If this isn’t a wonderful example of empathy with a child with autism, I don’t know what is!! He sure is a boy with a heart of gold and a true inspiration to me and so many others that have entered his life!!
I truly believe, with all the love and support from his family, teachers and caregivers, Joseph can reach his true potential! – Annie 🙂