Here’s a tip! Use time at the park to help your child with Autism, Additional Needs, Learning and Language difficulties to improve eye contact or eye gazing.
Whilst it is only a small element of the social impairment of people with Autism, it was important for me to gently encourage eye contact or eye gazing from an early age.
Keeping in mind that adults on the Autism Spectrum have described being pressured to look people in the eyes can be actually painful and can cause anxiety. For me, gently encouraging my son to give eye contact was an important step to being accepted into our society without prejudice.
I used our time together at our local park to encourage eye contact/eye gazing!
All kids love the swings (well most anyway).
* Instead of pushing the swing from behind, make sure the child is holding on tight and push the bottom of their feet from the front so they can see you.
* Once a gentle back and forth rhythm has been established and you can sense that he/she is enjoying the swing, genly stop pushing and wait.
* Be patient and wait.
* Once your child has looked you in the eye to continue, you can then celebrate and gently start pushing again.
* This can be done over and over again whilst it is still fun, making a game of it and not only working on eye contact but also interaction.
It’s easy, simply:
Push – Stop – Wait – Eye Contact – Celebrate – Push
Gently helping children with Autism, Learning and Language disorders establish some eye contact is a step towards establishing friendships and connections with other people.
Whilst I did not expect eye contact all the time, I must say I did enjoy our time together interacting at the park.
It may help to show a visual support of a general park/playground so your child knows where they are going and carry with you a “finished” handcard so you can show a visual support of when it is time to go home.