Autistic Confessions – I’m Paying Attention

I don’t need to look at you in order to pay attention to you.

Actually, looking at you while you talk is very distracting to me.

It may look like I am playing with something in my hands, while my gaze is someplace far away, but I’m here with you – working to process things in my own way.

Looking at your face doesn’t help me. There is not a lot of information there for me. My brain doesn’t naturally pick up on expressions.

This got me in trouble at school a lot growing up.

Some faces are too much. I don’t like to make eye contact with strangers, often looking at someone’s hair or mouth when I need to fake it.

I may not look at you while I am talking – this is not a sign of disrespect.

I am working hard to verbalize my thoughts. It’s not easy for me to focus on my words and your face at the same time, unless I know your face very well (or really like it).

To the outside world I seem disinterested and aloof – but I promise I am here with you, working things out in my own way. So much is happening below the surface.

When I appear to be off in my own world –  I’m not as far away as I seem.

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34 thoughts on “Autistic Confessions – I’m Paying Attention”

  1. this = long time issue for Man who develop many workaround over many year & have successful math & english teacher career for > 30 year before he retire & become personal aide for autistic boy in middle school for 2 year & private tutor for 11 year more after that. Man say keep up good work of education of people who not know what go on under surface appearance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its funny that I read this today, my husband and I got into it cause he was talking to me but I wasn’t looking at him. I have a hard time looking at people in their eyes/face, I tend to look around or at my phone but I’m listening 100%.I do not have a diagnoses of anything but I think some people listen to others in different ways. Do you mind if I share this on my FB page?

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  3. Reblogged this on heather awen archives and commented:

    This is a wonderful blog. Even though my father side of the family is autistic and I have sensory processing disorder, because doctors told me my empathy was so high there was no way I could be autistic (the United States got rid of the time Aspergers which is annoying), I didn’t know anything about autism. The more I learn about it the more I am really proud that I have an autistic brain. There are so many gifts! Having such heightened awareness means that a lot of us have so much empathy that it might look like we don’t care when in reality we have almost shut down because of having such incredibly high empathy. What I’ve read so far in books about coping with an autistic brain in a world created by NeuroTypicals for NeuroTypicals matches everything I read for high empaths to cope with being in a world where most people do not have high empathy. The problem is cultural, when I am speaking to friends who are also artistic there’s never any miscommunication. It’s easy and seamless but dealing with most NeuroTypicals who have very limited ideas about what is acceptable social behavior – like making eye contact – can be really painful. Just because what you see on the outside doesn’t matter how you might look when you’re thinking or feeling something don’t project that onto other people. Because we can tell you you are wrong. You are not wired like us and difference is not disability. Working so hard to meet the needs of NeuroTypicals is very draining and I hope that there are campaigns that work so NeuroTypicals can meet us halfway.

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  4. I think you might be better off not looking at me !! HA I like the way you write. It is real and from the heart. That is something in short supply now a days and makes you a special person. After I started following you I began to read up on autism every chance I got. It is much different than what I learned in psy 201. Is there anything you suggest I read ?

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      1. THANKS !! I AM NOT THAT UGLY. I LOOK LIKE A GRAND FATHER. HOWEVER, BACK IN THE DAY WHEN I WAS CONSIDERED MALE EYE CANDY THANK YOU VERY MUCH. ONLY ONE PROBLEM, CANDY ROTS YOUR TEETH. WHEN YOU LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF THE WORLD STARTS TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY. I CRACK MYSELF UP SOMETIMES AND YOU HELP ME SMILE. THATS WHAT US SPECIAL GRANDFATHERS DO.

        Liked by 1 person

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