Often we hear that people with autism or Asperger’s have no facial expressions because they have no emotions. Is this true? Let me write a few stories to prove this misunderstanding.
1 : “Good Doctor.”
A drama called Good Doctor was broadcast not only in Korea but in the States. This is the story of an autistic yet genius doctor. Recently re-watching Good Doctor reminds me of the conventional thought about people with autism.
Medical professors talk about Joowon, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
“The amazing Servant-like ability is just a mechanical ability~. In a state where there is no empathy for the pain of patients and no emotion, it is just a mechanical response, saying that it must be fixed. So he will never be a real doctor.”
These conversations exemplify conventional thought. In their eyes, autistic children are like machines with no emotions and no ability to empathize. It is terrifying to think that doctors treat our children with this thought.
I feel hope in the comments of the hospital director who supports JooWon.
“Autism can be cured with good treatment. A significant number of autistic people are getting better and living their lives.”
2 : I saw a shocking recognition from some therapist’s YouTube, which talks about autism.
“Autistic kids don’t have facial expressions~. The reason they don’t have facial expressions is that they don’t have emotions~”
No emotion? No expression? So, are you saying that autistic are machines? So are you saying our kids are monsters who cannot feel feelings?
To a therapist with this perception, our children are not the ones to feel sympathy for. What kind of sympathy will they have for children who think they have no feelings? Kids are just being treated as broken machines that must be repaired and fixed.
3 : Carly Fleischmann, who could not speak at all but became a writer by using a word processor, tells the truth.
I remember it being roughly like this. “People treat me like a fool just because I can’t talk.” “It broke my heart to see my father suffering because of me.”
Carly couldn’t speak and couldn’t make an appropriate facial expression, but deep inside, she felt the joy, the anger, and the sadness, as well as anyone else.
4 : Yumin, one of my young patients, an autistic child with an expressionless face, is growing into a lovely child with expressive facial expressions.
Most of the children who come to me with severe autism have minimal facial expressions, but there are many children whose presentations improve within a month or two if they improve during treatment. At the same time, the amount of speech in children increases rapidly.
Feelings that didn’t exist are not created in a month or two.
Emotions are abundant in the hearts of our children in the first place. The feelings of people with autism that I have experienced are much more sensitive and rich than those of ordinary people. However, it is immature to convey that feeling. And it is immature to receive the surfaces of the other person. It is not that there is a disability in empathy. It is a communication disorder.
The fundamental cause of the disorder is neurological disorders. It is the inability to make facial expressions due to the abnormality of facial nerve control. When the inflammation in the nervous system subsides, it makes facial expressions and can convey emotions.
5 : Parents are the first ones to understand a child’s emotions and feelings.
“Even if children behave like crap, you must recognize their true intentions. ”
“Parents are the best to understand children’s sincerity.”
“The emotions of children with autism are not significantly different from those of standard developing children.”
“Kids are not behaving strangely; they are doing their best. ”
“Even in expressionless behavior, there is a display of love for parents. Parents have to respond to that.”
“ Parents are the ones who can read children’s intense emotions and respond sincerely. ” These things are, I repeat to every parent in my clinic.
I don’t think autism or Asperger’s is a disability. It’s just that the children have some inconvenience in their ability to communicate. They are children who have challenges that can be improved.