This one’s almost made it to the “common knowledge” domain: Autistic people typically don’t make eye contact when they’re talking to you because blah, blah, reasons, difference, awkward, reasons, etc.
Ever wonder why?
I’ll tell you!
It’s hard for us to process multiple senses at once.
Unlike the rest of y’all, we autistic folks devote significant mental resources to engaging in conversation. Saying the right thing, planning our next sentences, avoiding awkward pauses, trying to guard ourselves from over-talking, and reading your face.
Making eye contact? That’s like the camelback-breaking straw.
It often feels like too much at once. It’s not that we’re too shy – we just need to devote more to our conversations with you.
We’re intentional, so we can’t just “rest” our gaze by making eye contact.
I mean, we could make eye contact.
If it were a staring contest.
If the goal is “maintain eye contact until predator backs down” or something weird.
If we were talking about, well, your eyes.
Lastly, we’re on our guard and averse to being “analyzed”
I’ve a lot to learn about myself, but I know I’m different.
Whether it’s true or not, I feel that, and I feel others can see it.
So the eye contact thing? It doesn’t help – it’s like people stare straight into my autistic reaction, that visceral feeling of “stop gawking at me.”
That said, I do have a way I’ve worked around this.
You might notice that, at times, I have no problem holding a conversation and looking right back at you.
I’m practically blind now, y’all. Without my glasses, I can stare straight into your face and be A-OK with the blur.
No eyesight, no eye contact, no problem ^_^