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Young man face with sad eyes

AUTISM IN FIRST PERSON

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A gaze…Whoever does not understand a gaze…will not understand after a long explanation either. I don’t know how many times a day I hear “look into my eyes.” Close people, therapists, teachers, strangers on the bus looking for I don’t know what! They all want something from me that is so intimate, so personal, so unintentionally aggressive… but aggressive it is.  

Someone told my parents that without making eye contact there is no learning, without looking into people’s eyes I can’t socialize, without eye contact there is no communication. I don’t understand that demand because for me, learning is easier if my senses are calm. Communication is the kind of delicate task that looking into someone else’s eyes will block my mind. They grab my face and force my eyes to meet theirs. That is threatening, intimidating, invasive. It Hurts. Sometimes they ask for it kindly and other times in such a forceful manner, feeling that if I don’t do it something bad or the worst will happen to me. I try to comply although my body paralyzes, the rest of my senses are blocked, my heart races and for a couple of seconds I succeed… And when I finally look in your eyes the only thing I feel is confusion. I don’t want to try it again, it’s an exercise that leaves me exhausted, full of anxiety.  

Girl expressing empathy to one of groupmates

You achieve your well-intended goal: a nervous, evasive gaze, but at the cost of my sensory fragility. Everything gets complicated when you grow up… if you don’t make eye contact, the world really turns upside down because looking in the eyes will no longer be a request but a social norm. If you don’t comply, they say that you could end up without a job or without friends. No eye contact gives others the impression that seems that you are lying or that you are very very weird. Look in the eyes… Look… And you know? I CAN DO IT! I CAN make eye contact!! only with one condition: That you sincerely want me to. Do not try techniques learned, advised, suggested by professionals or other people based on “you have to”. They forget that without initiative they will only achieve an almost mechanical, forced, furtive look.  

A look should be transparent, relaxed, serene or why not, annoying, sad… and again happy. Without empathy there is no technique that will make me look into your eyes. It’s simple: Earn my trust, my appreciation. Smile and be sensitive and understanding. The less worried I am about my gaze, the easier it is for me to surprise you with it and I will add a smile as a bonus. Sing next to me, talk to me in a relaxed tone without many words, only those necessary to understand you. I sense your attitude and respond accordingly. Understand and respect my bad days, those when my mood is not the best. Don’t think about autism with every interaction. I already know that autism will accompany me for the rest of my life but you don’t need to remind me all the time. Even if you don’t say it, I feel when each action you do is conditioned by my diagnosis. Remember my name and use it without wasting it in one order after another, so that when you pronounce it, hearing it connects me with you. Be a respectful and kind visitor. 

 
Get to know me. You won’t have to look for my gaze, my gaze will find you. 

Abraham Ros De La Fuente

Abraham Ros De La Fuente

Instagram: @asperger_y_mi_yo
Website: https://drasperger.com
Language: Spanish

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