On The Ontological Status Of Autism And Double Empathy


The double empathy/cross-neurological hypotheses of Milton and Beardon can be summarised as follows:
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(1) non-autistic people appear to have as much difficulty in understanding autistic minds as vice versa;
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(2) autistic people often develop a greater understanding of society than non-autistic people develop of autism; and
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(3) autistic people have a similar ability to empathise with other autistic people as non-autistic people have with their peers.
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Milton does not suggest that non-autistic people are less capable of developing an understanding of autism than vice versa; as he points out, it is simply that autistic people have no choice but to try to develop an understanding of society if they are to ‘survive and potentially thrive’ whereas no such imperative applies in the opposite direction (Milton 2012).
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  • It is of interest to muse on an exactly opposite world where 99% of the people are autistic.3 In such a society the very few non-autistic people would be highly unlikely to develop their full capability to understand other non-autistic minds because they would be interacting for the most part with autistic people. "

    We identify with each other here because we can identify with the attributes, temperaments and thought of those in this ND  online community.  Our condition is of a over critical and reflective self which helps us to realise self awareness more easily.  In recognising our behaviour and being able to empathise with others easily is because we are able to identify "self" in others. In seeing others share our same thought processes and beliefs/fears etc helps us to validate who we are...."normal" amongst our own tribe.

    Human nature is fundamentally lazy in that it easier to form relationships and understanding with others more like ourselves....so for the NT individual to understand us requires effort and an ability to put oneself into another persons mind head which is inherently difficult if not impossible and we hit against the issue of other minds....they may not conceive of any merit in the bother.....Effort over Reward !!! why bother when there does not seem to be any tangible reward...?

    Humans are tribal....we stick with those we identify with...as we identify with them..and so we fool ourselves into thinking that they identify with us and therefore...you would / could not threaten or hurt me as we have "so much in common".....I am part of your tribe, after all.

    society surrounds itself and aspires to be whoever has decided is the new "norm" ...the expected societal construct....as a result every sheep out there strives to "fit" in...if you don't you face ostracization, trolling etc etc

    It is a society still stifled by this idea of categorising people in a tribal way.  Autism is a spectrum, the article just sites the NT and the ND and again reinforces this binary means of categorisation and reinforces, once more.....a tribal construct.

    I am "me"......a multitude of things as a result of my experience, upbringing, environment and wiring....you are also "you"....empathy is also a construct of depth...there are degrees of empathy just as there are degrees of autism and NT behaviour.

    Ellie x

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