[Video] Autism and eye contact
What's the big deal with autism and eye contact? I mean, everyone and his aunt has heard the old cliché about how we autistics don't make eye contact, right?
Well... like most clichés it's kind of almost close to the truth... but it's not the whole truth.
No, it's a caricature of the truth.
Here's how it is in my world and the worlds of many other Aspies.
Thing is, the misinformation about autism and eye contact isn't just annoying and irritating, because some adults who suspect they may be autistic are being denied onward referrals to specialists by their GPs because they make it.
On the other side of the coin, not realising how uncomfortable it can be is also harmful — I remember as kid being shouted at to "look at me when I'm talking to you", and "listen to me!" simply because I wasn't looking at the teacher as he or she spoke to me.
And by forcing me to do that, all they did was ensure I really didn't listen to them (for an explanation of why this is, watch the video).
Personally, I find eye contact with people I don't know pointless and confusing, and some autistics find eye contact with anyone physically painful and even upsetting.
Forcing autistics (or anyone else) to make eye-contact isn't just irrational but it's wholly unfair and, to us, a form of torture.
As they say here, it's not just weird, it's distressing.
From the autistic's point of view, you NTs have this weird habit of staring into our eyes and insisting we stare into yours even though it may be uncomfortable, confusing, and even painful.
Comment or ask questions below, and share the video to spread awareness.
Jon McCulloch, The Evil Bald Genius
Author, speaker, business owner, and autism advocate