5 Odd Reasons Autism Avoids Eye Contact

Autism has many reasons to avoid eye contact, and we don't really know what they all are, but here are some reasons autistic people avoid eye contact.

  First, this video from The Mighty's Youtube says a lot.


 Text from the video:
Someone asked my son with autism why eye contact is hard. This was his answer. My eyes can see very well... Most people seem to have to look long and hard to make sense of a picture. I can take in a whole picture at a glance. Each day I see too many little petty details. I look away to not get overwhelmed by a lot of little bits of information. I watch things that a teacher or person I listen to tells me to watch. This helps me concentrate on what I should be focusing on. I can search for a teacher's voice to try to focus on. I am academically learning best when I sit side-by-side with a teacher. A seat on the side keeps me focused on your voice and not on visual distractions. I'm assessing many sounds too. I have to erase some stimuli to access my answers to people's questions and meet their demands. I am sad when people think I don't like them. I love people.
I understand this too well, but 5 other reasons why I avoid eye contact...

Because I don't Have To

Because of all the things the video says, at a glance I get the picture, I don't need to make eye contact. Your voice can be in my peripheral sound, and I'll still get most of what you say. In the movie Bloodsport, a movie based on a true story where Jean Claude Van Damme goes to China to fight in the Kumite, at the end, he is fighting the guy who is deemed the mean, bad guy in the movie. That guy cheats. He throws a powder in Van Damme's face rendering him blind. After Van Damme has a little meltdown, he regains his focus and starts acting out some martial arts training from his past. In the movie, he is there, blind, and reacting on sounds, feelings of steps, and that spiritual essence feel we have that silently whispers to our senses. Without eye contact, he fights his opponent. That's what autistic people are like all the time. We aren't blind, but we use all our senses as a blind man is forced to do. We don't need eye contact.

It's easier to ignore the distracting details when everything is blurry

Do you ever stare at the wall observing bumps and crevices, and in time, it gets blurry and more blurry? Then you get a spaced-out feel? We with autism usually learn naturally that staring at something until it gets blurry happens to remove all the details that overwhelm our thoughts. This is why when autistic people are trying to listen to you, they tend to stare off into the distance. I tend to look down at the side a lot. But the point is to space out and focus primarily on the voice.

The Mouth is Where the Sound Comes Out

I look at lips so often I can somewhat read lips now. It's where the sound comes out, and helps me focus on the words. Some people seem to not notice my lack of eye-contact when I stare at their mouth, but people with bad teeth get a little uneasy. Autism doesn't read eyes like most people do. It's actually a test to help determine autism that many use by showing pictures of eyes and seeing if the person taking the test can match the emotion displayed in the eyes. All eyes are equal in the mind of autism. It's just natural for autism to look at the source of the sound, especially when the eyes don't reveal much about a person's character to us.

Eye Contact is Intimidating

Studies have shown babies and animals find eye contact intimidating, and the same can be said about adults when it's the kind of eye contact autistic people are capable of making. I naturally avoid eye contact, but one reason I don't try to push the matter is that it makes people uneasy. The fact that I don't exhibit my emotions on my eyes like most people do kind of freaks them out, and I don't waiver much with fear, so it really freaks them out. It's the blank glaze of unpredictability and lack of emotion that scares people. Like cops will try to force eye contact with me up until the point where I make eye contact. Same with my drill sgts. These are manly men with courageous hearts, men who have seen battle and stared down the face of the enemy without flinching, and they find my eyes to be intimidating. After many experiences like this, I have learned to keep my eye contact minimal, despite everyone telling me I should make more eye contact. Avoiding eye contact is not only less intimidating to the person you're talking to, but it's also less intimidating to the person with autism. With heightened senses, the feeling of intimidation is also heightened.

Autistic People Do Not Bond Like Most People

The motivating factor behind most people's need to make eye contact is that it promotes a bond between people, a bond autistic people just don't feel. Without that bond motivating us, autistic people have no reason to make eye contact outside of the fact that it's what most people want, and they are trying to fit in, and that's if they are graced with that knowledge (they don't realize they are different until they are told they are). Eye contact is really a petty thing to people with autism. We don't fully understand what the big deal is, and most people don't. For the same reasons we can question why we avoid eye contact, we can also ask ourselves why do people need it?

Michelle Grewe

Humor and Spiritual Writer and Graphic Artist, Michelle Grewe is an Air Force Veteran, mother, and a human jungle gym. Published in 7 Books, Michelle’s art is featured in her coloring book designed for spirituality and mental health, From Dust to Essence. Websites who have featured her work include Popsugar Moms, Mamalode, and Blunt Moms. Her nonsense actually does make sense if you drink enough vodka and pray. Find her on

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