Autism and Empathy: Dispelling Myths and Breaking Stereotypes (Introductions)

Identifying a need and then filling it is said to be a core skill of the business entrepreneur, but there are needs far and wide which are best met with the payment not of money but of attention to evidence and examples.  One of the most insidious misconceptions regarding autism is that autistic people are incapable of feeling empathy.  The need to dispel this misbegotten, destructive notion is being felt and met more and more frequently in various places on the internet; those scattered instances now have a home in Rachel-Cohen Rottenberg’s new site Autism and Empathy.

From Rachel’s blog:

Autism and Empathy:  Dispelling Myths and Breaking Stereotypes exists to undo the myths about autism and empathy that have stigmatized autistic people for so long.

It will feature writing by autistic individuals, by autism parents and family members, and by others who understand that autistic people, all along the spectrum, can experience the world in highly empathetic and sensitive ways.  Telling our stories, describing our experiences, and speaking the truth in our own voices, we can break dehumanizing stereotypes and increase understanding.

This is a stance and a contributor pool shared here at Shift Journal, and Rachel has of course been a longtime, frequent contributor.  To the extent Autism and Empathy promises to be a similar, more tightly focused group effort, it feels as if The House that Andrew Built is becoming a neighborhood.

So head on over and join the housewarming; in addition to the posts themselves, do not miss that well-populated sidebar.  Congratulations and thanks to Rachel for recognizing that another edifice was needed around here, and for putting in the effort to raise it up.  Here’s to Autism and Empathy enjoying such success that it puts itself out of business and becomes a museum of things that once needed saying.  Seriously, we could have a sideshow tent too, with wax replicas of Bruno Bettelheim and the Refridgerator Mother, and charge visitors a nickel each just to look at ’em.

Best wishes Rachel, in any case, to you and all contributors.

[image:  Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg]

on 07/1/11 in Autism, featured | 3 Comments | Read More

Comments (3)


  1. Rachel says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the signal boost and for all that you do. We’ve got quite a good neighborhood here!

  2. Indigo Jo says:

    I recently posted an article critiquing Simon Baron-Cohen and his theories on empathy and the so-called extreme male brain. It’s here:

    Simon Baron Cohen, autism and empathy

  3. Gwen McKay says:

    Nice job, Rachel! If you’d like to repost any of my articles on Shift Journal that have to do with empathy, feel free to help yourself.

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