Yeah, we got little love for this dude ’round here. Am I wrong in saying he’s pretty much the perpetuator of the misconception that “Autistic people don’t have feelings”???
At any rate, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg lays out a fantastic critique of the aboved mentioned theory, from the point of view of Autistic folk. And no, she doesn’t speak for EVERY SINGLE AUTISTIC PERSON EVERYWHERE, but the lady makes some dayamned good points.
My favorite part is:
2. Because we lack a proper ToM, we have trouble knowing when we are hurting someone’s feelings.
From my contact with autistic people, it’s clear to me that our empathy leads many of us to constantly question the impact of our words. While I am far from perfect, choosing my words carefully may very well rank as one of my Aspie obsessions. However, the professor believes that “the typical 9-year-old can figure out what might hurt another’s feelings and what might therefore be better left unspoken. Children with Asperger syndrome are delayed by around 3 years in this skill.” (Baron-Cohen, 69)
Choosing my words carefully, so as not to give offense, I wish to say to the professor: “Simon, my friend. (May I call you Simon? I’m not sure, since I can’t read your mind.) You say that autistic people can’t properly put themselves into the shoes of another person. Let me respond as gently as I can: Those words were much, much better left unspoken. They hurt me. And when other people believe what you’re saying, your words cause autistic people no end of trouble. So, the next time you feel tempted to say such things, turn off your computer and have a good meal. You’ll feel better.”