But for the millions of teens and young adults with an ASD, is it a missed opportunity to present a valuable role model?
Virtually all people with ASD report various types of oversensitivity and intense fear.
Also, white children are more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than black and Hispanic children.
“Anyone who has a valid diagnosis of ASD [autism-spectrum disorder] now should not have to get a rediagnosis,” she said.
The presence of these projects coincides with a sharp increase in occurrences and diagnoses of ASD cases in the U.S.
For people with ASD, these empathetic feelings might be so intense that they withdraw in a way that appears cold or uncaring.
“We have come to think of ASD as people with [only] social deficits,” says Singer.
But he adds, “I think most people with ASD feel emotional empathy and care about the welfare of others very deeply.”
Singer believes that the changing numbers are a result of broadening the criteria for who is included under an ASD diagnosis.
So why do so many people see a lack of empathy as a defining characteristic of ASD?