On day 5 of the A - Z Challenge, E is for Eye Contact
Many autistic children have a problem making eye contact. David never really had an issue with it but Michael does not easily make eye-contact when someone speaks to him. To this day, my husband and I will remind him sometimes to look at someone when they are talking.
I remember reading an article written by an adult with autism addressing how he described making eye contact as physically painful. I don't think it's that way for Michael, but I know it takes a conscious effort to do it.
When Michael was in a self-contained autism pre-school, one of the things they worked on was eye contact. The children would look at their teacher and say 'good morning' or 'hi' or 'hello'. They would try to maintain eye contact until teacher responded 'good morning' or 'hi' or 'hello' back.
One morning I was at the post office and an elderly man was putting a letter in the box inside. Michael saw him, walked up to him and said 'hi'. I was so proud of him, he was only 4 at the time. The man barely looked at him and began walking away. Michael said 'hi' again. Again, no response. He said 'hi' again and I rushed over to pull Michael back. I have to admited I was very irritated that the man could not even be bothered to say hi back to a 4 year old, but I was encouraged to see Michael initiate this simple contact with a stranger.
Again, it's baby steps. Michael used to keep his head down when speaking, but now, for the most part, he will look at a person when speaking. There is the occasional slip but we've come a long way with this issue.