Sunday, March 9, 2014
Autism and Empathy: A Maggie Update
While I know that my experience with Mae is just one tiny story on the spectrum, I've found that the exact opposite is true. If I have a child who is going to sob because someone else was sent to their room or has fallen down and gotten hurt, it's going to be Maggie.
Yesterday Mae was having a tough morning and had spent a good deal of time snuggling with me on the couch. She and her sister have been watching Frozen in the mornings and most mornings she loves the movie (okay, every morning except yesterday), as she suddenly loves all things princess.
Another moment I keep replaying in my mind came when Patrick was having one of his I'm-almost-a-year-and-a-half-old-and-I'll-cry-for-no-reason-if-I-want-to tantrums. I was trying to console him over whatever it was and Maggie walked over and leaned over and studied his face with a very serious expression on her own face. Then she leaned over and put her arms around him and started to hug him. His little hand shot out with his hand flat, tapping her on the chest to stop the hug and she stopped and let him go and looked at him for a moment longer before sort of shrugging and running off to play.
No, from our little experience in our little corner of the world if I had to say that there is one person in our family feels the emotions of others more acutely, almost as if they were her own, I would say that it is Maggie, who will often shed tears when her brother or sister are upset, and who seems the most keenly attuned to what everyone around her is feeling.
She may not yet be able to express those feelings in words clearly, but for anyone who is watching they are there, clearly reflected in her expressions and actions as she seeks to comfort anyone who's upset or in pain.