Myth Busters Friday #1

There are so many myths out there about autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance. Sadly, many of them have become entrenched because they were spread by ‘experts’ and even autism awareness campaigns which in many ways have done more harm than good.

Because now when NT (neurotypicals) meet #ActuallyAutistic they have preconceived notions about them. They are a certain set of autistic behaviors rather than an individual.

I am not saying that there is no grain of truth to any of myths. Merely that none of them apply to ALL autistic people. And also even when they do, the reasons behind those behaviors are more often than not what the ‘experts’ claimed.

So for the next few weeks, I am going to explore some of them…perhaps even ask for some guest bloggers from my #ActuallyAutistic friends.

Let’s jump right in this week with…

***People with autism*** lack empathy.

(*** Please make special note that the overwhelming majority of #ActuallyAutistic prefer the terminology ‘autistic’ person/individual. I am using what for most is offensive person first terminology imposed upon the autistic community by others to state the myths for affect. To my #ActuallyAutistic friends I hope you understand and forgive me.)

Not at all! In fact, PanKwake demonstrated wonderful empathy the other night.

At 4 A.M. the fresh water pipe in the upstairs toilet  began to leak…seriously. The result was a significant flood into the family room beneath. I discovered it when I came downstairs to get her some water. I started screaming for Cookie Monster…so did she. We quickly worked out where it was coming from and he and I rushed off to try and stop the leak. (Not as easy as it sounds given the high pressure the water was under. We might have looked a bit like an old episode of I Love Lucy at that point.)

See the plushies up top?

But while we were upstairs working on that, PanKwake noticed that the plushies which had belonged to Cookie Monster’s wife before she died were getting wet on the top shelf. She goes into his office next door. Pulls out the small book shelf ladder there. And saves them all. Only the knitted dalek got wet much at all.

You see PanKwake knows how much the Miss Telsa stuff means to Cookie. She and I both respect that. They did spend a quarter of a century together. And I would be more worried if he could just wipe her away than honor her memory and role like this.

But the thing is…

That room is full of PanKwake things too. Her whole Shoppies collection, her board games, even her laptop got wet.

But before she saved any of her things…she saved Telsa’s…because she knows how important they are to someone who is important to her!

PanKwake to the rescue!

That, folks, is EMPATHY!

And when I was having so much trouble with joint pain, she would often apologize when she called me in the middle of the night to get her something. And she even tried to do more for herself too. Only calling me when she could not.

That too is EMPATHY!

I have my own theory though about WHY this myth came to be. Of course, this one is just one person’s opinion. And we all know what they say about those. But hear me out…

I think that the reason ‘experts’ and NTs especially ‘autism parents’ don’t see this type of empathy is…

Much of what passes as ’empathy’ i.e. sharing, apologies, and the like that are exhibited by children are MANIPULATED, GUILTED, and FORCED by their parents. 

  • Say you’re sorry (even when you did nothing wrong!)
  • Let her see your doll (even if it is your brand new one or special!)
  • Let him go in front of you, he’s younger

But at least with PanKwake and many of the other autistic children I know especially with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), they do not respond to guilt, manipulation or being forced to obey ‘rules’ they do not understand, that are not logical.

So then parents who may not be very good at modelling empathy themselves but rather just talking the talk assume their child lacks it. When in fact, they possess a purer form of it…one that flows from their hearts.

But that is just my theory/opinion. What I do know is…

Empathy, true empathy, abounds in the #ActuallyAutistic.

Myth #1 Busted!

Published by Tara Cox

Writer of Literary Erotica Real-life, hot sex, deep meaning... In my day job, I am homemaker, home educator, urban farmer, and homesteader at our @HomeCrazzyHome.

10 thoughts on “Myth Busters Friday #1

      1. That sounds AMAZING! I have preached that one for ages but I recognize that my voice as an NT (I think?) parent is NOT the same. You let me know whenever you want. OK?

      2. 😀 it’s good to hear from all perspectives, I often find NT parents can teach me many things, even about PDA. Yes, the sooner the better otherwise my demand avoidance will make me procrastinate lol How do you want to do the guest blog?

      3. How would you feel about next Friday then? I did not want to ‘demand’ but if sooner works best for you then that is fine. Would can email me content and links? OR I am happy to reblog from you if that is better for you?

      4. Friday is great. Email works best for me (I tend to write a lot lol). Do you want me to write something and send it to you or do you do it a different way?

  1. Love this post. And that was such a sweet thing that Pankwake did re the toys!!! I agree with you that autistics often don’t conform to societies view of what empathy ‘looks like’, so it’s assumed we don’t have it. I know that I seriously struggle to watch the news, because right from when I was tiny I would automatically and immediately place myself inside that person’s situation and I felt like I could actually feel their pain. It was too much to cope with. I’ve learnt to distance myself a bit now (usually!). My daughter (also an aspie) shows astonishing empathy at times. She regularly gives kids who come to our house some of her toys, and on one occasion her best friend started crying because he wanted what at the time was her FAVOURITE TOY – you know the kind of toy that gets carried around everywhere and taken out everywhere and spoken to? Well I tried to stop her but she insisted on just giving it to him. (I promised to crochet her a new one – it was one I had hand made.)

    1. WOW!!! Not even PanKwake would consider giving Billy to someone else. Given though…he is truly one of a kind doll. Very old and I have never seen another like him. But kudos to her and you!

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