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ediself
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27 Oct 2010, 2:53 pm

yeah me too, but those people apparenty want to confuse everyone. :roll: the OP here is NT and explained this, so i thought about it and suddently went "duh! of course!!", they can't get any info from your iris. they look at the tiny movement of your muscles and infer from that what state of mind you're in. i'm starting to practice now that i know it's mostly not pupil contact......apparently you still need to shoot a glance from time to time at the pupil but it's not constant. their main focus is the big picture. hard to apply but worth knowing.



theWanderer
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27 Oct 2010, 3:05 pm

Maolcolm wrote:
Insisting on eye contact is perhaps as much a "first step' for an autistic person as aggressively insisting on 'making out' with someone you just met two minutes ago - and who is unwilling - is a "first step" in any kind of relationship or friendship or in building trust.

I'm not saying they are totally analogous. After all there is no pleasure in eye-contact for autistics, only pain.


Actually, if someone I just met, and had no interest in 'making out' with, insisted on 'making out' with me, I would hardly consider that pleasure... distress, discomfort, disgust, perhaps even pain, but certainly not pleasure.

Your analogy is a better one than you thought. :wink:


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Maolcolm
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27 Oct 2010, 3:41 pm

theWanderer wrote:
Maolcolm wrote:
Insisting on eye contact is perhaps as much a "first step' for an autistic person as aggressively insisting on 'making out' with someone you just met two minutes ago - and who is unwilling - is a "first step" in any kind of relationship or friendship or in building trust.

I'm not saying they are totally analogous. After all there is no pleasure in eye-contact for autistics, only pain.


Actually, if someone I just met, and had no interest in 'making out' with, insisted on 'making out' with me, I would hardly consider that pleasure... distress, discomfort, disgust, perhaps even pain, but certainly not pleasure.

Your analogy is a better one than you thought. :wink:


Thanks for your comment, it was helpful. I actually meant that, but obviously I didn't express it very well. LOL., So I've edited my original post so as to be more clear. I feel the same as you do, but I was aware that some people might think such a thing would have degree of pleasure in it, and I wanted to point out that this simply isn't true when it comes to forced eye contact for autistics. To be honest, even if I found someone I'd just met highly attractive and by some miracle they were intent on suddenly forcing themselves on me I'd still be absolutely mortified and go into a total panic meltdown at sudden physical proximity etc. So yes, I too would experience it as intensely painful also.



katzefrau
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27 Oct 2010, 10:05 pm

to OP - i don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet but keep in mind also that a lot of us have auditory processing problems and read lips. so while our eye contact might be strange or absent, if we are looking at mouths instead it is because it helps us understand what people are saying.


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jennm
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27 Oct 2010, 10:07 pm

There is so much information coming in from a speaker that I try to assess as the communication is happening. If I have to look in the eyes, I lose everything else, especially what is being said.
As a speech pathologist, you are probably interested in having the subject look at the mouth to get the information on how words are created. That's fine - in fact, that's the best place to for me to look when someone is speaking.
This eye contact thing seems to be a way for NT people to feel connected to the people they are speaking with. I don't understand it well, since I never experience this connection. Without the eye contact, they probably are uncomfortable, wondering if their words are being received. For me, if I'm speaking to someone, I am looking inside my brain for the right words to pull out, and not really thinking about looking at the face(s) in front of me to determine if they are getting what I am saying. If I was to be forced to look at faces while talking, I would never find any words to say.



nara44
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27 Oct 2010, 11:18 pm

jennm wrote:

This eye contact thing seems to be a way for NT people to feel connected to the people they are speaking with.


Perhaps it's the other why around and it is because AS,unlike NT's,got their eyes connected to the heart or/and ears stuff can get very noisy just by looking at it,
That's why AS tend to feel the weight of an eye contact as if it a stone(depends on the circumstances of course,a real eye contact can take u to the sky)
Things,people,the universe... it talking to us even before it's produce sound,that's why it's called sensitivity and that's why we tend to meltdown,overflow,shutdown... where and when NT just feels and see nothing.
A meaningful eye contact can not and shouldn't be handled as an unmeaning full one,
Most of the trouble and pains of this world stem from the blind and deaf forcing their insensitive stupidity on the seeing ones
don't let them/
A real eye contact is utterly significant for some one who could really see into the heart and as such it doesn't suit well the egocentric and trivial uses the NT's assign to it
A real eye contact is a once in a life time experience
don't let others rape your souls just because u feel and see things they can not experience and understand



saoirse_starr
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28 Oct 2010, 2:04 am

jennm wrote:
There is so much information coming in from a speaker that I try to assess as the communication is happening. If I have to look in the eyes, I lose everything else, especially what is being said.
As a speech pathologist, you are probably interested in having the subject look at the mouth to get the information on how words are created. That's fine - in fact, that's the best place to for me to look when someone is speaking.
This eye contact thing seems to be a way for NT people to feel connected to the people they are speaking with. I don't understand it well, since I never experience this connection. Without the eye contact, they probably are uncomfortable, wondering if their words are being received. For me, if I'm speaking to someone, I am looking inside my brain for the right words to pull out, and not really thinking about looking at the face(s) in front of me to determine if they are getting what I am saying. If I was to be forced to look at faces while talking, I would never find any words to say.


You're right - in answer to others who are discussing what "eye contact" actually means, it's not so much about looking at someone to get information from them as it is glancing in their direction to say non-verbally 'I am paying attention and am interested in what you're saying' and/or 'I am making sure you are paying attention and am interested in what I'm saying.' If a toy makes an interesting noise or starts flashing with bright colours, a child will automatically look at it because it's interesting to them and has captured their attention (unless of course, they have sensory issues and hate it!). Eye contact is a similar idea. "Oh, that person is saying/doing something I find interesting, I'm going to look at them." For a baby it might be, "Oh, that lady is making funny faces at me, I'm going to look at her face because then she might do it again." So that's essentially why people say it's important for children to make eye contact. We do seem to learn very early on in life that we should look at someone's eyes/face instead of their hand or their stomach and I'm not even sure why that is since it's a learned behaviour. At a guess, I'd say maybe the eyes are more interesting or cause more interesting things to happen. I mean, if I'm playing with a baby and he looks at my hand I might wave it a bit. But if he looks at my eyes, I'll make a funny face or make a noise or something MUCH more interesting (to him, anyway).

Of course, we often don't explain this very well, and there are many people on the spectrum left thinking that 'eye contact' means staring intensely at someone instead of merely glancing at them now or then to show interest. I'm NT, and I can tell you I find it very, very uncomfortable to be stared at by someone!



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28 Oct 2010, 7:05 am

and THAT^ in a nutshell is why the idea of pushing eye contact is so ridiculous in my mind. i am expected to do something that makes ME mentally/emtionally uncomfortable so that OTHER PEOPLE feel better. and if you 'train' and aspie or autie to do more eye contact, you will still have no assurance they care or understand what you are talking. so there is truly not much point, except to keep up false appearances. they can learn it themselves when they are older if they want.


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Kaspie
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28 Oct 2010, 9:18 am

hyperlexian wrote:
ediself wrote:
from what i gathered here, in answer to your last question, apparently NTs look in the general direction of the eyes, but when they say eye contact they mean "keeping an eye on the muscles surrounding the eyes so as to know how the person is feeling", they don't really stay pupil to pupil as we tend to do when we learn eye contact. i think we were all mislead by the "look me in the eye"we got from day 1. that's, once again, not what they mean.

seriously? well, now. this explains a lot. i thought i was supposed to look directly into the centre of the person's eye.


+1 I always thought "look me in the eye" meant I was supposed to look directly into someone's eyes.


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bee33
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28 Oct 2010, 9:33 am

I'm still not entirely sure how eye contact is supposed to happen. Whenever I try it, by glancing at someone occasionally while they are talking (or while I am talking, which is much more difficult), they seem startled that I am suddenly peering at them, like I'm scrutinizing them.

And if I look at someone's mouth, they seem to notice, and it makes them feel awkward, like I'm staring at their mouth because they have a smudge in their lipstick or something in their teeth.



grendel
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30 Oct 2010, 1:28 am

Mysty wrote:
It's easy because it's happening unconsciously.

It's like, the brain sees these different things, including eye color, facial movements, etc. And a lot of processing gets done subconsciously. And only some of it gets passed onto our conscious mind. And even some of the processing of responses, where to look when, happens subconsciously. No conscious thought required.

I think what happens with those who are autistic is, more stuff gets through to consciousness (and can thus distract our attention), and less of the subconscious processing happens.

There's good and bad things about a brain that works that way (that is, the autistic way). Sometimes it's good to notice details others miss. Other times, noticing details is distracting.

Some of us can also go the other way and hyperfocus. Block everything out, except what we are dealing with.


That is a very interesting observation, one that bears more thought. It makes a lot of sense to me in explaining the processing differences. It seems like often other people are not even aware what specifically is wrong about my behavior (only a few can/will explain it to me), they just feel like it is wrong.

ediself wrote:
from what i gathered here, in answer to your last question, apparently NTs look in the general direction of the eyes, but when they say eye contact they mean "keeping an eye on the muscles surrounding the eyes so as to know how the person is feeling", they don't really stay pupil to pupil as we tend to do when we learn eye contact. i think we were all mislead by the "look me in the eye"we got from day 1. that's, once again, not what they mean.


Wow. I also had no idea. No wonder I kept getting into these problems flopping between focusing on something else and staring at their eyes in an attempt to follow the instructions (and yes, I was told why I was supposed to be looking at them but it didn't help accomplish it). I would still find this distracting (yes... I look at something I find interesting or a flashing light, etc, or somebody making a strange face to see what it is... but I don't LOOK in order to HEAR. Reducing the visual intake helps improve the audio intake). However, knowing this as a kid would have saved a lot of effort in the wrong direction and maybe I'd be acting more normal by now.

A side note: I remember being told also as I kid that looking into someone's eyes meant I was being honest and if I looked away it signaled that I was lying. I went through a period of time as a kid (not proud of it) where I lied with some frequency (and success) and based it on this information... I had no problem at all staring into somebody's eyes and lying unblinking and unflinching. Probably because the lie would be rehearsed. Whereas having to think about phrasing a truthful answer and recalling the details for it would be well-nigh impossible while staring into somebody's eyes.



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30 Oct 2010, 3:03 am

Hi Lana,

I went through speech therapy from 1st grade to 5th grade if it was not for that I would sound like a stammering monotone robot today. I had a second grade teacher who would grab me by the chin and jerk my head so I was forced to make eye contact with her. Because of this I was very disruptive in her class and even spit at her at one point. :twisted: This was a special education teacher who should have known better. I barely passed the second grade because I was constantly at odds with her. I assure you you will have more success with your students then the one who forces eye contact from an autistic child. My speech therapist always had me looking at her mouth and would also tell me to try to keep my nose pointed at the person who is talking nose so they think I am listen so my 2nd grade teacher would leave me alone. Good luck.


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electricsaygeo
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15 Nov 2015, 5:38 pm

How do you teach someone to make eye contact???

If there's some big easy secret to it or anything, I'd love to hear... I'm 17 and I don't look anyone in the eyes and it's something I want to change... but it's difficult to


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