#5: Encourage Children with Aspergers to Establish Eye Contact
Children with Autism and Aspergers generally have problems establishing eye contact when they are talking to someone.
While some people understand this, others may think that it’s completely weird and avoid future conversations with both children and adults with Aspergers. This can be very frustrating for anyone suffering from Aspergers since they find eye contact extremely uncomfortable.
Andrew could look at a person for only about 30 seconds, but after that, he would shift his gaze away from anyone who was talking to him.
Generally, people want you looking at them when they are talking to you because it’s a sign that you’re listening, so it’s possible for others to misunderstand that a child or an adult with Aspergers is simply not interested in talking to you.
In order to minimize this issue, I began reminding Andrew to look me in the eye whenever his eyes strayed away from mine.
However, I realized that it made him very uncomfortable, so I stopped pushing hm. Children with Aspergers can become very violent if you don’t handle them well, so I was undoubtedly worried to try anything new.
However, I couldn’t give up, so I instructed him to look at the cheek area and if possible, look at the forehead. We also played games where we would look at each other’s eyes and the one who did that the longest would win. Andrew surely had difficulty adjusting to this at first, but over time he was able to hold eye contact for at least a minute.
It might not seem like a great achievement for many people, but for us it was as though we had achieved the impossible!