Social Skills Series: Practice Making Eye Contact

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain, impacting how an individual’s brain processes and reacts to information. A critical aspect of this disorder is difficulty in social interaction. Because eye contact is such an integral part of communication, it can be difficult for people with autism to understand what others are feeling or thinking without it.


Difficulties Associated with Eye Contact

It is often challenging for individuals with autism to maintain eye contact, leading to feelings of discomfort, shyness, and insecurity. Eye contact is a powerful social cue necessary for connecting with others. It’s said that a person with autism often has difficulties picking up on social cues from facial expressions and body language. This may make it challenging to interpret what we say or understand when telling them something important.

Eye contact is an essential part of human communication. Autistic individuals are often nervous and uncomfortable with eye contact, but they can learn how to do so in a healthy way. Try not to interrupt the person when they’re looking away to make this process easier. Wait until they look back at you before saying anything else. This will give them time to process what you’re saying and formulate a response.

ABA Therapy Techniques to Improve Eye Contact

ABA therapy techniques have been developed to help people with autism work on this skill. One approach is assigning them a job where they must make eye contact, such as sitting by a store clerk or cashier and making small talk while waiting in line. Another is assigning them a set period to practice eye contact throughout the day, such as 15 minutes per day at first, gradually increasing the period until they can do it for an hour.

5 Tips to Practice Eye Contact

Here are five  tips for working on eye contact

  1. Have a toy or something they are interested in on the other side of the room and encourage them to find it by looking at you. 
  2. If you are in a public place and your child isn’t looking at you, try saying ‘I want to look at you’ in a playful voice, and then try to get them to make eye contact with you. 
  3. Try not to be your child’s only source of social interaction-get some one-on-one playtime with another child or adult. 
  4. When you are with someone interacting with your child, make eye contact with your child, and direct your attention to that person. This is a great way to encourage them to share their interest in that person. 
  5. When talking to someone, direct your attention to the other person. If you want your child to do this, try having them look at you and then turn your face towards the person you are talking to. 

All young children need a lot of encouragement to spend time with other people, even when having fun, because they often don’t consider it necessary. But over time, when you give them positive experiences, they will likely come to enjoy it on their own. 


Individuals with autism have a difficult time maintaining eye contact. Eye contact is an essential social signal for human beings, so this is a problem for people with autism. However, there are ways to work on eye contact skills by making time throughout the day to practice.

I hope you found this blog informative and the information helpful. If you are interested in learning more about Applied Behavior Analysis and the services Behavior Matters, LLC provides, please email