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zeldapsychology
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29 Sep 2011, 4:18 pm

I am Doing a speech course in college and eye contact came up again. Had it on my 1st and 2nd speech. As an aspie how did you handle this? Thanks.



MrXxx
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29 Sep 2011, 5:22 pm

This is a tough one. My psychologist noted I have very good eye contact, but I know I never did as a child. I was always being yelled at for lack of it, which, of course, helped immensely, as I'm sure you can imagine.

It's a tough question because though I can remember forcing myself to do it, and even remember first becoming aware when it went from contact to staring, I can't really recall well how I eventually overcame it. It was so long ago now.

I do remember feeling (just before realizing I was actually staring at people) as though if I broke eye contact, that would send a bad message to others.

What I think helped the most was, believe it or not, the staring I did do. Not at people was was talking to, but at people having their own conversations that didn't involve me. I would watch their eye movements. I also did some reading and remember learning that most people don't really maintain non stop contact for very long at all. At most, it's usually only a few seconds at a time. I remember learning that it was the frequency of brief eye contact that matters more than the length of time each occurrence lasts.

Eye contact is very distracting to me. Too much and I lose track of what either I or they are saying. Frankly, I still can't make eye contact much at all while I'm doing the talking, otherwise I lose my train of thought, and stumble over my own words. It's not so bad anymore when others are talking to me. I can keep focused on what they're saying as long as eye contact is very brief, even if frequent.

At first, it was all very deliberate and awkward, but over time I got better at it.

You should know though, that it's still awkward for me, but I'm the only one that notices anymore.


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Maje
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29 Sep 2011, 5:25 pm

Practise with a mirror? Sit down, have a cup of tee with yourself :wink:

Ask a friend to practise eye contact?

Sitting in front of a friend for many minutes without speaking and only looking each other in the face (all over the face) is just ...wow.

But I think practising in real life is the best practise.



anneurysm
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30 Sep 2011, 12:40 am

Look at the person's mouth or nose. Looking in people's eyes can be scary. Mouths and noses are less threatening.

One person I know does this and it shocked me once they told me where they were looking. It actually looked like they were giving perfect eye contact. 8O Try it out!


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Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


DragonKazooie89
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30 Sep 2011, 1:15 am

I practice, especially with my parents. I have noticed I have a hard time keeping eye contact when I have to think a lot before I say it. If I know exactly what to say, I can keep eye contact.



KathySilverstein
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30 Sep 2011, 1:39 am

I kind of look at the mouth or forehead or nose, anywhere but the eyes. Or maybe to the side of their head slightly. I can manage some eye contact for a short time, but do much better when looking away. The further I am from someone, the easier to look in their eyes.


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PureRumble
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30 Sep 2011, 3:21 am

zeldapsychology, I do hope I get your attention for I think I've managed to come in terms with this problem in a very very simple way that causes no consequences at all if you do it right.

Don't look into the eye of the person/persons you're having a conversation with.

This is how I think it works: looking into the eye of the other person while having a conversation is a social courtesy. You are saying I'm observing your comments and have a great interest in what you're saying.

Now, what you want to do is to give the person the same message and comfort while having your conversation without looking him/her in the eye. So you simply look at something completely else. Like the floor, or some random spot on your table.

But while he/she is talking, you show your observation and interest by nodding regularly and/or by making that "humming" sound that means "yes, I see".

If you begin the conversation in this manner, I believe the other persons will find your behavior a bit awkward, but only initially. As the conversation progress, they will come to realize that they have your fullest attention and interest.

Seriously, I've applied this technique to (/against?) doctors, psychologists, family, relatives, friends and most notably my BOSSES, at meetings... and I've had no complaints nor remarks

//Arash



VMSmith
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30 Sep 2011, 6:52 am

the only thing i can suggest for eye contact with an entire crowd is to blur your vision and look up from your speech notes every once in a while and move your head like your gaze is roaming about the crowd. it makes it easier to look up if you cant see anyone.



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30 Sep 2011, 8:37 am

Does practise ever actually work for anyone?

I naturally avoid eye contact, not just with other people but with myself in the mirror, with people on television, with that photo of Kirsten on the front page of the WP forum.

Even with practise the best I can manage is fleeting glances, it seems to be one of those untrainable things things like putting your hand over a flame, sure with practise you can tolerate it for a bit longer but no amount of training is going to prevent you from burning your hand.

:roll: