• Question: What do you think regarding the work of Baron Cohen regarding children with autism?

    Asked by anon-290914 to Anon on 23 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Anon

      Anon answered on 23 Mar 2021: last edited 23 Mar 2021 4:06 pm

      Wow, this is an extremely broad question! Baron-Cohen has produced a massive volume of work on Autism, I certainly know about some of it, although not even close to all of it!
      There is a lot that we still don’t know about Autism. There is no single perfect theory that explains all of what we see when we talk about Autism Spectrum Conditions, and I expect Baron-Cohen would acknowledge this.

      His research has attracted a lot of debate. For example, some of his work seems to suggest that people with autistic spectrum conditions find it more difficult to show empathy. However, it’s clear that many autistic people empathise very deeply, especially on an affective (emotional) level. There is also what’s known as the ‘double empathy problem’ which argues that any two people who have very different experiences will naturally find it difficult to empathise and understand each other’s point of view. Neurotypical people may think that Autistic people show little empathy, however Autistic people could just as easily argue that the neurotypical world does very little to empathise with them and understand their experience.

      Generally speaking, I think that Baron-Cohen’s work on autism is valuable, whether or not we agree with his approach or his conclusions. The great thing about research is that it doesn’t really matter if your theory is proven right or wrong, the important thing is that every new piece of research sparks conversations, criticism, new ideas, and drives us to keep improving our understanding.

      I hope that’s a useful answer to your question!