Why Does My Child Not Keep Eye Contact?

Have you been asking yourself “Why does my child not keep eye contact with me? This is a more common question than you might think. And most parents immediately jump to conclusions. But that is the absolute worst thing you could do. So let’s dive a little deeper into this topic in search of answers. Then we will tell you exactly what you need to do before you do anything else.

Why Does My Child Not Keep Eye Contact?

There are many reasons your child might not keep eye contact with you or others. The number one concern of most parents is that they know that no eye contact or not maintaining eye contact is a sign of autism. But there are other reasons a child might not be maintaining eye contact with you and others.

Ten Common Reasons Why a Child Does Not Keep Eye Contact

Here are some of the most common reasons a child might not keep eye contact with you and others. These are all possibilities, with each different issue requiring its own specific treatment or behavioral training needs. If your child is displaying any of these issues, please take them to a behavioral therapist right away to be tested. The sooner you get help, the sooner your child will be on their way to a better, more comfortable life.  

1. Autism Spectrum Disorder

When a child doesn’t keep eye contact, that is one of the earliest signs of autism spectrum disorder. But before you jump to conclusions, please have your child tested. Then you will know for sure and can proceed by helping your child based on their specific needs.

  • Is the Autism Spectrum a Personality Disorder?

Absolutely not! Autism is when someone persistently has difficulty communicating and interacting socially along with having repetitive behaviors and interests.

  • Is the Autism Spectrum a Mental Disorder?

Again, absolutely not! Autism is not a personality disorder or mental disorder, and it’s not a learning disability. Autism is a developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with each other, or not.

More about testing for autism in a moment.

2. Low Self-Esteem

There are many different symptoms of low self-esteem including being embarrassed, having a low self-image, feeling bad or angry about something, or sometimes a child just might not like themselves.

3. Not Interested in the Stimuli of the Moment

If your child doesn’t keep eye contact, it might be something as simple as that they are just not interested in the stimuli of the moment. That might include you talking to them or attempting to interact with them.

4. Can’t Seem to Focus

Kids with ADHD or ADD have a hard time focusing, making it hard for them to make eye contact.

5. Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is the fear of social situations. For your child, interacting with others can cause an overwhelming fear of being judged or negatively evaluated. Social anxiety can also bring on feelings of self-consciousness. You might notice your child avoiding conversation, looking away when someone talks to them, being shy or nervous, etc.

6. Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory processing disorder is when the brain has a hard time interpreting what it is hearing. Auditory processing disorder isn’t hearing loss or a learning disorder. It simply means your child is having a difficult time understanding speech.

7. Distraction

A kid’s world has so much happening at any given time. So when a child doesn’t make or keep eye contact, they might just be thinking about something else. When they look away, it’s because they are focusing more on their thoughts than on you.

8. Embarrassment

When a child is embarrassed or ashamed about something, they will sometimes try to hide their face or look away from you. This might be due to the way you respond to your child in various situations. If your response to normal child behaviors such as potty accidents, forgetting their jacket at school, etc. is negative, your child might have a learned behavior of looking away from you out of embarrassment. This is because they feel bad that they repeated this behavior and want to avoid a negative response.

9. Difficulty Communicating

Some kids don’t know how to communicate properly with others. So they avoid making eye contact because they haven’t yet learned that making eye contact is normal human behavior. Your child might have this issue if they talk too low or too quietly, avoid starting or having a conversation, don’t understand what people are saying when they are talking to them, or if they don’t use many words.

10. Eye Contact Feels Uncomfortable

Eye contact is uncomfortable for some kids because they don’t know what to say or how to react when someone looks at them. You might notice your child looking away or around the room rather than looking at you or the person talking to them.

What Should I Do If My Child Does Not Keep Eye Contact?

Before you jump to conclusions and before you do anything else, have your child tested to see if they are anywhere on the autism spectrum. The last thing you want to do is to jump to conclusions or take matters into your own hands by forcing your child to make eye contact.

Testing is the only way to help your child move forward and learn how to deal with their personality type.

If you are asking “Why does my child not keep eye contact?” Please contact Opal Autism Centers today. We have experienced clinicians with advanced training in child behavioral therapies for the autism spectrum, ADHD, anxiety, and more. We offer free consultations that will help put your mind at ease. Learning the truth is what will help you and your child move forward and not backward. Let’s work together to do what’s best for your child.

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