What do they really mean and why are they important?
Psychology Today identifies emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. I would argue that we are all responsible for our own emotions, but that there are some responses that are more socially acceptable when responding to others’ emotions. This is where some with special needs might need help. You can refer back to my post at Special-Ism.com about recognizing and teaching kindness for this.
The New Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. —–Thomas Merton
Stop over at Special-Ism.com to learn more.