It wildly over-generalizes and oversimplifies.
Yes, it’s true that autistic people have trouble, in general, from taking other people’s perspective, but that scenario is so simplistic, that most people, even autistic people, can reason it out.
The problem with seeing something from another’s viewpoint is not so literal. It has more to do with not being skilled at reading other people’s vocal tone and body language.
An autistic person, for example, who has had some remedial teaching in responding to other people’s comments with questions about the topic they have brought up might respond to someone saying that their dog just died by asking what the dog’s name was. This would be an appropriate question if the person made some mention of having a dog in a neutral context, but in an emotional one, particularly a sad one, it’s appropriate to ask how the other person is feeling, and that’s where a lot of autistic people get derailed.
But even that isn’t going to elude higher-functioning people. It’s worth noting here that “high functioning” mostly refers to language ability. A lot of so-termed people are even more prone to anxiety and over-stimulation than “low-functioning” people.
At any rate, people with very good language may not have intuition for other people’s feelings, but can learn a lot about indicators by watching TV and reading books.
Anyway, anyone who is going to understand the question about where the marbles should be is probably going to be able to figure out that someone who didn’t see them moved doesn’t know where they are. Maybe a child would lag behind in understanding-- an 8-yr-old autistic child might not get it, whereas an NT 8-yr-old surely would.
But to get back to the dog example: a person even with a much-loved dog might have trouble figuring out the other person’s feelings if they’d never lost a dog. However, someone who had, might actually be projected very acutely into the other person’s reality, if they’d experienced the loss before, and painfully.
I knew a little autistic boy who always started crying when he saw other people cry, even if it was on TV. A child crying on a TV show always set him off. He actually had very little language at that point, but he definitely understood some things, and had empathy; once when his mother fell asleep on the couch, he got a blanket and covered her. I watched him do it. He was very gentle, and it was sweet. I don’t know that he was so much worried about her being cold, as he was imitating the behavior of people who had covered him, or that he had seen on TV do this, but the point was that he could learn by imitation, which requires a level of projecting yourself into another person’s place.
Does that answer the question?
I worked for an agency that did supported living services for people, and we had lots of autistic clients, all over the spectrum. I’ve seen it in all sorts of manifestations.