Five or six years ago, I was at a pizzeria with my father and little brother, Dan. A large group had arrived shortly before us, so the service was crap. We were hungry and waiting. Dan, who must have been seven or eight at the time, was not dealing well with his impatience. He was starting to give a sort of show, advertising his unhappiness. He sounded mournful sighs and squirmed around in his chair. My father was doing his best to placate him until our food arrived, but we hadn’t even been given breadsticks to calm our hunger. Dan was loud. People were staring. The big party that arrived before us was being served.
So, Dan has trouble communicating. And he can’t deal with not getting his own way. And when I say he can’t communicate, I really mean he can’t speak in more than fragments. And when I say that he can’t deal with not getting his own way, I really mean that he is essentially incapable of empathy. Dan is autistic.