Eye Contact, Favorite Subjects, Groups
E Is for Eye Contact
For children with Asperger's, eye contact is usually avoided, even when they are infants. Kids with ASP might look past you, up, or down, but not right at you. This makes it impossible for them to read faces and know when a person has lost interest or is unhappy with their behavior, or is trying to give them certain cues.
Nick: Just because I'm not looking at your face doesn't mean I'm not paying attention or listening. Looking in someone's eyes seems really weird and uncomfortable to me. Sometimes when I look in a person's eyes I have trouble concentrating on what she is saying.
F Is for Favorite Subjects
Kids with Asperger's have specific favorite subjects that can include robots, the weather, the news, reading, playing with water, and the Discovery Channel. They usually want to (and try to) talk about every detail of each subject, whether you're interested or not. Interests include building things out of Legos, paper, sand, and wood or just about anything they can find.
Nick: I like building things. It took me six weeks to build a paper city because I kept getting new ideas. I only stopped when my cat ran through the city and demolished it. I like to watch programs on science and machines; they give me ideas for my own inventions. I am good at math, spelling, and science, but not so good at penmanship, art, or PE.
G Is for Groups
Groups are a problem because kids with Asperger's have an unusually strong sense of hearing, and being in a large group can be unsettling because of the noise level. They will usually act immature, make rude noises, act out, or ask to leave. These reactions can make family gatherings, movies, recess, and school assemblies problematic. When you sense tension building, ask the child if he needs a break and help him find a quiet place.
Nick: The noise in a group, like the lunchroom, playground, and the classroom, can get too loud for my brain. I might cover my ears and put my head down to make it quieter so I can think. One time I left an assembly where African drums were being played because they were so loud they made my whole body shake.