Welcome to the Empathic Autistic Community!

posted in: Autism | 0

Hello and welcome! I just received an email from a young newly-identified autistic man* who was looking for resources, and I realized that I need more pages devoted to resources on my site! *I use identify-first language (for instance, autistic man) for most disabilities, including my own, and it’s an intentional choice. Before you prepare a person-first lecture, see the note at the bottom of this … Read More

Focusing on autism-positive approaches (to stave off despair)

posted in: Autism | 0

Your approach affects your data — strongly In my research for my master’s thesis (I received my M.Ed. in December), I did two things: I created the first-ever survey study that asked for autistic people’s responses to education that had been developed for them, and; I looked for autism-positive research that focused on autistic ways of learning. I did very well with my first project, and … Read More

Autism, empathy, and the mind-blindness of everyday people

posted in: Autism | 17

Hello! I’ve completed graduate school, and I’m now Karla McLaren, M.Ed! My master’s degree is in education and curriculum design with a concentration in linguistic anthropology, and my focus is on autism, empathy, disability rights, and human rights. Over the next few months, I’m going to be posting pieces of my own research and the excellent research I’ve found. For instance, if you’d like to explore … Read More

You don’t have to be blue — you can celebrate the full spectrum!

posted in: Autism | 4

Celebrate the Full Spectrum! April 2nd is International Autism Awareness Day, but I have to say, if you’re not aware of autism yet, where have you been? The cool kids have already moved on from mere awareness to inclusion, acceptance, and love. We’re celebrating Autism Acceptance Day, Autism Acceptance Month, Autism Acceptance Year, Autism Acceptance Decade (and Autism Acceptance Eon, while we’re at it). Many of my friends … Read More

Einfühlung and Empathy

posted in: Empathy | 16

Hello again! Previously, we looked at the first of my six aspects of empathy, Emotion Contagion. We also talked about the importance of art for people whose Emotion Contagion skills are very strong (hyperempaths), and also for people whose skills are currently less developed. The good news is that the six essential aspects of empathy are changeable, malleable, and manageable throughout your life span; therefore, you can … Read More

Empathy and autism

posted in: Autism | 6

Empaths, we’ve got a situation. After these most recent mass murders, people are focusing their fears onto mentally ill people and autistic people. This is not only cruel, but it’s counterproductive, since autistic people and people who are mentally ill are far more likely to be victims of crime than to commit crimes. Since the Sandy Hook murders occurred, I’ve been very quiet, reading academic books … Read More

Autism Acceptance Month: Empathy in Action

posted in: Autism | 18

Dear Fellow Empaths, April is here with its promise of Spring, but this has also become a time that can cause a great deal of pain for many autistic people and parents of autistic children. Why? Because tomorrow (April 2nd) is Autism Awareness Day, and in many cases, the awareness focus is on alarmist rhetoric about epidemics and despair — and on finding a cure at … Read More

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 2

posted in: Autism | 19

Continued from part 1 After spending just two weeks as an academic liaison for twenty-two people on the Autism Spectrum (and getting a sense for their inner lives), I started to observe my own behavior more closely. I’m very sensitive to sounds, colors, movement, and social cues — I love patterns, numbers, and being alone, and I have intense (often excruciating) empathy. I wondered: Am I … Read More

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 1

posted in: Autism | 81

Can I do this job? In early 2006, I got a job working as an academic liaison for a group of 22 college-aged students on the Autism Spectrum. My job was to help the students with all of their academic needs: scheduling, counseling, learning accommodations, tutoring, social services, transportation … I was hired to create a total support system under and around the students so that … Read More

More on Autism and Mirror Neurons … oh, and Hah!

posted in: Autism | 8

Back on April 2nd, I posted on World Autism Awareness Day and wrote about my sense that my friends on the Autism Spectrum didn’t have a problem with their mirror neurons (oops! see the comments section for an update). Instead, I felt that they had a problem with sensory overload. And I’m not the only one! Neuroscientist Ilan Dinstein and colleagues performed an fMRI brainscan study … Read More

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