Eye-Contact is one of the many techniques people use to show someone we are listening and engaged in the interaction we are sharing with our family and peers. It can also show us how the other person is feeling in the moment. If your eyes are elsewhere, it can be challenging to read and understand what the other person is expressing and feeling since their body language can only be read if we are paying attention. Along with this, not becoming distracted by other things around us, making sure the person we are with feels important and heard, and many other great social skills can be implemented into an interaction just with eye contact, which is what makes it so important, however, for those with life challenges such as ADHD, Autism, “Asperger’s,” social challenges, anxiety, etc., making and maintaining eye contact can be difficult.
Making friends in school can already be difficult enough, especially as a teenager. Everyone seems to be so wrapped up in their own mind while also worrying about what other people think of them and maybe struggling with eye contact can make it even harder for some kids. Feeling as if people may think of you differently because of your life challenges can make kids shy away from social interaction or struggle with interacting with others even more. Since sometimes making eye contact can be difficult due to anxiety, the addition of other stressors only adds to it. According to another source, “People with [life challenges] are less likely to look directly at another person’s eyes, which suggests they’re less engaged with others or less responsive to people in general.” (Rudy, 2022). The inability to be as engaged as other kids who do not have certain life challenges can cause socializing to become so much harder in a stage of life where it can already be difficult. People typically like to feel as if they are being heard and listened to when they talk, and if lack of eye contact leads to someone feeling as if they are not receiving someone’s full attention, they may choose to avoid socializing with them. This can then push your child into a more isolated, anxiety-filled, and lonely life since interacting with peers can become difficult and scary for them. No one wants their child to miss out on a fun youth experience due to social issues such as eye contact, and the Support for Students Growth Center can aid them in their journey to feeling comfortable when looking into the eyes of others.
At the Support for Students Growth Center, we provide the social, behavioral, emotional, and executive functioning skills children, teens, young adults, and their families need for a happy and successful life in and out of school settings. Our team of professionals offers coaching/counseling, social skills groups and more, to help teach social skills such as eye contact to ensure parents do not have to worry that their kids will be unable to make friends, show they are listening, and acknowledge others’ emotions and reactions on their own. So, if your child is struggling with skills like the ones listed above and much more, the SSGC is equipped with the tools to help.
Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist who specializes in Autism, ADHD and related disorders. Dr. Nach is the founder of the College Life Skills Program where he and his team of professional’s help develop the Emotional Maturity, Executive Functioning, Life Skill and Social Abilities of college students and those high school students preparing for college. The CollegeLSP is a subsidiary program of the Support For Students Growth Center, located in Boca Raton, FL and providing services nationwide.
Rudy, L. J. (2022, January 11). Is the lack of eye contact a symptom of autism? Verywell Health. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/autism-symptoms-and-eye-contact-260565