Autism and Emotions

900 600 Paul Louden

I often get asked about people with autism and why we show emotion in a different way than people without autism.


People with autism do have emotions just like everyone else, but we aren’t affected by those emotions the same way, we don’t express them the same, and we don’t remember or recall them very well.


We can be considered cold or dispassionate, even robot-like, without visible emotion. This is a big misconception. We do have strong emotions going on inside, but we don’t know how to recognize them in ourselves or how to express or explain them to others.


Typical people express their emotions through subtle cues, like body language and tone of voice. Those of us on the autism spectrum don’t pick up on those cues very well.


When someone is sending emotional data to those of us on the spectrum, and from their perspective it seems as if we’re ignoring the data, it tells them the situation is not important to us. The truth is, we don’t even know we are sending that message.


Emotional understanding and expression is a very cultural thing. Japan for example, places the emphasis on NOT expressing emotions. Regardless of where someone lives, if they are on the spectrum, they will undoubtedly have the same struggle within their culture.


So just because someone on the spectrum may not seem to care, it is very likely that they do care, and either they do not know how to express that care, or they think they are expressing care, when indeed they are not expressing their emotions the way that is understandable to most people.


Always try to remember, people with autism are still people. We just express ourselves in different ways.


Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Please let me know if you ever have any questions.

  • Rita Velasco

    I want to thank you for your input. My grandson was just diagnosed with adult on the spectrum autism. We have tried to help him over the years with no success. I wish that he would read more info about it, but then again he might. I am learning so much from you. God Bless you young man.

  • Kerry

    My dad, brother, and a son have autism. Growing up, I used to think my dad didn’t love me. He was always so withdrawn. Now that I have a son with autism and we have so much more information about it, I’ve been able to understand my dad so much more–my brother too. They do have feelings. Those feelings are real and valid. I’ve learned to stop interpreting no outward reaction as not caring.

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