Eye contact is a very important skill when communicating. It tells the other person that you are listening to them and invested in the conversation. It is also used to gain others’ attention while helping you understand how the other person feels.
Children with autism disorder usually have difficulty communicating, so they find it hard to maintain eye contact and face challenges in interacting. You can’t force a child to make eye contact; however, few activities can help promote eye contact.
Face painting makes you come physically closer to your child, encouraging eye contact. You can take turns and paint each other’s faces and engage in conversation while maintaining continuous eye contact.
Playing peek-a-boo with your child can be very helpful in helping them develop eye contact. You can use different objects to hide your face, such as hands, cloth, cushions etc.
Stickers (on the face)
Using stickers on the face will give your child a reason to look at you, hence automatically encouraging eye contact. Children will usually enjoy looking at faces that have something attractive on them.
Board games (Connect 4)
Use Connect 4 puzzle board game. Such games are the best for promoting eye contact, especially if you sit on opposite sides of the board, making accidental eye contact possible. Try pausing before your turn so your child will have to look up at you.
Swings help in promoting eye contact. Try standing in front of your child when they are on the swing and call out when stopping or pushing it.
Making funny faces
Making funny faces can get your child’s attention quickly and help them maintain eye contact. Try making different funny faces to encourage your child to look at you.
It is very difficult for some children with or even without ASD to develop eye contact. Few of these strategies might come in handy to help children.