If You Think Autistic People Are Not Paying Attention... We Are
I don’t need to look at you to pay attention to you.
Actually, looking at you while you talk is very distracting to me.
It may look like I am playing with something in my hands while my gaze is someplace far away, but I’m here with you – working to process things in my own way.
Looking at your face doesn’t help me. There is not a lot of information there for me. My brain doesn’t naturally pick up on expressions.
All of this got me in trouble a lot growing up, especially in school. Teachers really didn’t understand.
Some faces are too much. I don’t like to make eye contact with strangers. Often, I look at someone’s hair or mouth when I need to fake it.
I may not look at you while I am talking. This is not a sign of disrespect.
I am working hard to verbalize my thoughts. It’s not easy for me to focus on my words and your face at the same time, unless I know your face very well (or really like it).
To the outside world I seem disinterested and aloof, but I promise I am here with you, working things out in my own way. So much is happening below the surface.
When I appear to be off in my own world, I’m not as far away as I seem.
Follow this journey on Anonymously Autistic.
Stock image by JZhuk