Here’s my theory of mind:
It’s important to remember that everyone is real. People who teach social skills to people with disabilities, or who provide therapy to autistic or intellectually disabled people, almost invariably are deficient in this vital social skill.
Everyone is a person. Everyone has a mind. People do things for reasons. No behavior is random (unless it’s a seizure). People are their own best judges of how to live their lives. People shouldn’t try to run other people.
There are good and bad things to do. Some people do things that are evil. They shouldn’t do that. But even when they do bad things, they are doing bad things *as people*. These days it’s popular to say when people do bad things, that it wasn’t really them, they were just crazy, you’d have to be mentally diseased to do that. But that’s not how evil works. People who do evil are people. Real people.
But context matters. There is a difference between doing something harmful on purpose, and doing something because you’re overloaded and haven’t figured out how to act better while overloaded. There’s a difference between being unable to recognize faces and being indifferent to others. Intent isn’t magic, it doesn’t always make actions less harmful, but it does change what should be done about them and how they should be see.
Everyone is real. No matter how weird or unusual or normal they are.