School of Education
Education: Elementary/Middle; Education: Special Education
autism, atypical eye contact, supporting increased eye contact, ASD, characteristics, social skills, conceptual models of disability, theories, self-reported experiences, recommendations, importance of eye contactm
Elementary Education | Special Education and Teaching
Trevisan D.A., Roberts N., Lin C., & Birmingham E. (2017) How do adults and teens with self-declared Autism Spectrum Disorder experience eye contact? A qualitative analysis of first-hand accounts. PLOS ONE 12(11): e0188446. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188446
One of the most beautiful realities is the fact that no two people on this earth are exactly the same. Everyone has their own unique fingerprint, experiences, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. For people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the same concept applies. Each case is different because each child is different. While this is inherently true, research shows that many people with ASD struggle with the same or similar social skills, with lack of eye contact being a prevalent issue. This social deficit will inherently affect individual’s ability to read social cues, regulate real world interactions, make connections, build intimate relationships with others, and possibly succeed in a future occupation. There is a need to inform of the different characteristics of an individual with ASD; provide family members, teachers, and caregivers an understanding of the challenges that individuals with ASD experience with eye contact in order to develop a sensitivity towards the individual; expand on the importance of increasing skill with eye contact; and to provide evidence-based strategies to support the increase of eye contact in individuals with ASD. While eye contact may seem to be an insignificant skill to focus on, it opens the door to relational, occupational, and social learning opportunities.