Apr 13, 2016
Topic - Yawning, Empathy and Autism. Young autistic children, about 1 to 4 years of age, do not respond to others’ yawning as much as their peers without autism.
“Responsive” yawning is seen in about half of adults even though most can’t resist a good yawn.
This lack of yawning with others represents problems with empathy. Those with autism have low levels of mirror neurons that allow us to imitate others.
It also impedes motor planning which inhibits the growth of playground and self-care skills such as shoe-tying, dressing and tooth brushing.
Persons with autism don’t “read” the social landscape or facial expressions. Their responses don’t reflect the emotions of their peers causing confusing and avoidance.
Anxiety increases their “misery index”. Understand the reasons for autism before judging the behavior.