On The Ontological Status Of Autism And Double Empathy

The double empathy/cross-neurological hypotheses of Milton and Beardon can be summarised as follows:
(1) non-autistic people appear to have as much difficulty in understanding autistic minds as vice versa;
(2) autistic people often develop a greater understanding of society than non-autistic people develop of autism; and
(3) autistic people have a similar ability to empathise with other autistic people as non-autistic people have with their peers.
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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  • What individuality actually is though ~ is not all that well considered by many, as they are traumatically disassociated from themselves, and thereby habitually pretending to be who they imagine they are, who they'd like to be, or who they are not.

    Oddly enough, most people do not really like this state of affairs, in that, "Everybody has to do it and so must you do it too!" way of things. All big and jolly, "It's tradition you know!" or all big and not jolly. "Or else!!!"

    So a degree of individualisation is tolerated, i suppose, as long as you can still perform in the world and adhere to societal homogeneity.  In some ways people like this it is gives them a "rule book" in terms of the key elements to conform to and leaves spaces in between for us to add our own sprinkle of uniqueness (provided that it does not upset anyone) and provided that we still remain "useful" members of society.

    However, as you allude, some people are disassociated from themselves...traumatically or maybe down to the "rules of engagement" from their particular culture.  Some people may believe that they are individual but are just practicing mimicry.

    Fashion, for example, provides mass produced costumes for us to wear and this are external indicators of wealth and compliance....external badges of what "camp" or tribe we belong to - i.e. Goth, Hippie, Punk, Skinhead...and then customise these again with a layer of our individuality....a tattoo, a safety pin etc.

    no wonder people just worn out trying to understand others!! :)