Double empathy, explained
Difficulty navigating social interactions pervades even the earliest accounts of autism. This defining trait of the condition has informed prevailing theories of its roots as well as the design of many autism treatments. But an emerging line of work supports a more nuanced look at the social abilities of autistic people. Proponents of an idea called the ‘double empathy problem’ believe that communication breakdowns between autistic and non-autistic people are a two-way issue, caused by both parties’ difficulties in understanding.