I want you to imagine that you are a person for which the following traits are always true.
Suppose that you are brutally honest and truthful at all times. And that you think being truthful and honest at all times is helpful.
You call things as you see them. This likely stems from your strong tendency to take things literally, at face value. This means you tend to be nonjudgmental and unbiased. (Note: being nonjudgmental is not the same thing as either amorality or giving allowance to immorality, though we may certainly disagree about what is or is not immoral; if anything, I myself have a very strong moral code) That and your honesty ensures you present things exactly as they are, as you understand them, without ignoring inconvenient facts.
Suppose too that you are conscientious, committed to your work, punctual, reliable, and loyal. Always. Also suppose that you believe when you are at work, you are only supposed to work and not socialize. Ever.
Suppose that when you express an opinion it’s because you’ve done a great deal of research and you have thought through the patterns and complexities and the varies alternatives and, only after a long period of contemplation, come up with an understanding, a solution, or an insight.
Suppose you’re persistent and focused. Suppose, too, that you’re a highly creative thinker and are not at all prone to groupthink or following behaviors. Suppose you can rapidly recognize patterns and can engage in imagistic thinking.
Suppose that information comes at you in an almost constant barrage (and can be so much that it can overwhelm your senses and thinking), that your thoughts are always racing, that your information output is almost as rapid as your information input.
Now suppose you think everyone thinks like you, perceives the world like you, behaves like you.
What would you think of everyone else? What would everyone else think of your behaviors and the way you treat them?
If you can do that, if you can imagine these things–and imagine what it’s like to experience someone like you (if you are neurotypical) when the world is experienced this way–you can understand why we with autism act as we do. And why you mistakenly think we lack things like empathy or theory of mind.
We just think you think (or ought to think) like us.
And you think we think (or ought to think) like you.
But we can’t.
And you can’t.
We’re literally of different minds.