Avoiding Eye Contact

Adults expect eye contact from children. If your child won't give it, you probably assume she's not listening or is being disrespectful. You say, “Look at me!” when what you really want is for your child to listen, and you're likely to grab her chin and force eye contact if you don't get it. But for children with sensory integration problems involving the visual sense, looking into another person's eyes can be such an intense experience that they can't pay attention to anything else.

If what you want is your child's ears, don't worry so much about his eyes. You may have better luck saying “Listen to me” if that's indeed what you want to happen. Your child may be able to look at you or listen to you, but not both.

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