Thinking Out Loud

We got G’s official IEP in the mail recently.  Overall, I am happy with the goals and interventions.  There are just a couple references to teaching G to sustain eye contact during conversations that I’m less than thrilled with.  Just to be sure,  over dinner I spoke with G about looking in someones eyes and how it makes him feel.  I wanted to have the conversation in front of my husband so he would hear first hand and not think I was making a big deal out of a seemingly small detail.  G again affirmed that looking in peoples eyes makes him feel uncomfortable and he would rather look at someones mouth. 

I plan to mention this at our next IEP meeting in the spring.  But I’m wondering if I should mention it sooner?  It seems like a small detail but the more I think about it, the more I want to be sure they’re not forcing him to stare into people’s eyes if it is uncomfortable, and possibly hurts him.  I’m also wondering how common it is to accommodate this type of thing.  Is eye contact a necessary social skill for later life?  Is teaching him to look at a person’s mouth sufficient? 

The more I think about it the more confident I feel that having G turn and watch someone’s mouth is enough to let a speaker know G is paying attention.  People would know he isn’t looking them in the eye, but it would be close enough to acceptable to be a quirk rather than an impediment, I think.  I have trouble making eye contact myself – I look at noses and ears, particularly when I’m feeling insecure and no one has ever mentioned anything to me.

I think I’ll mention this to G’s teacher the next time I’m speaking with her, and then I’ll bring it up formally at the next regular IEP meeting.

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 4:11 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I second your eyeroll at the eye contact emphasis. What matters is not how he listens, but THAT he listens.

  2. Hey, I look at people’s mouths all the time (but then I lip read) I think eye contact is overrated…clearly it pains him, WHY make him uncomfortable just to please other people?
    Don’t wait, bring it up now!

  3. I agree, don’t wait! My nine yr old was diagnosed recently with mild Aspergers, but I determined when he was 4 that he couldn’t listen as well if I forced him to look at me. Adult Aspies in my support group have agreed that this is an issue; you are asking him to process two different types of information. It is definitley more important that he listens and learns to give an initial response or a clue that he has listened. I usually ask my son to repeat what I said; frequently the more active he is the better the recall.

  4. I have just discovered your blog and started with the beginning of your story to current entried. I love your writing. My little grandson who is now almost 5 is sooo similar in many ways to your little “G”. I will continue to follow your story and Thank You..:)

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