People use the word empathy to mean a lot of different things. Usually, empathy means caring how other people feel.

Some people say that autistic people don’t have empathy, but they are wrong! We care a lot about how other people feel. Some autistic people can’t stop caring, even when we don’t want to.
We might feel really bad if we throw a toy away, since it can feel like we’re hurting the toy’s feelings. If we see someone who is hurt or embarrassed, we might feel the same way.

Guessing how other people feel

Everyone shows how they feel differently. No one can really know how someone else feels, but we can guess. Some people also call this “empathy.”

Guessing how others feel is a big part of how most people socialize. You change how you act around someone when you guess how they feel. If you guess that someone is sad, you might try to cheer them up. If you guess they are angry, you might leave them alone.

No one is perfect at guessing, but most non-autistic people are pretty good at it. For most autistic people, it is very hard to guess how someone feels. We might need people to tell us how they feel. Non-autistic people are usually good at guessing feelings, but they are usually bad at guessing how autistic people feel. Autistic people might show our feelings in different ways, and we also think differently. That’s why it can be harder for non-autistic people to guess our feelings.