Find Out What Jen Finds

My journey on the spectrum of life … and the lessons I learn along the way …
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about Eye Contact: what I learned from my almost 7-year-old

  • June 12, 2012 2:51 pm

The Younger discovered an innovative way to get The Elder to make eye contact with him today.

Eye Contact

Standing about a foot away from him (and at the top of his lungs I might add), Y was calling his E’s name over and over (and over and over) to get his attention to show him his favorite part of the skit at VBS (Visual Basic Script). When E continued to appear to give the Lego Minifigure more attention than to Y, Y sighed heavily, regrouped, and then persuasively (imagine him dangling a carrot chocolate chip cookie in E’s face) said,

“It has pictures…”

That did it! The Younger had The Elder’s undivided attention after that! Of course, there were no pictures, just a visual component to the communication.

All I know is that I get exhausted saying his name over and over again trying to get his attention (Thank goodness his name is only 2 syllables!). I know he’s listening even if he’s not looking, or even if he’s in a different room or level of the house. I understand that he actually can hear me better if he doesn’t make eye contact. And sometimes he will even respond by saying “I’m listening” before I get to the 10th iteration of his name. An improvement. But who likes sharing something with someone who has his attention split? No matter how skilled he is at processing multiple streams of data with no eye contact, my neurotypical brain has a hard time adjusting to that fact and still needs to see his eyes to feel like I was heard. Whether I’m sharing a heart-warming story or if I’m asking a question or if I’m announcing what day it is. It’s a validation. Some days I forego it. Other days I remind myself that I’m not the only one who needs a little validation – he will encounter many who will appreciate his eye contact. I’m actually impressed at the level of patience The Younger exhibited (a rarity) to come up with such a creative strategy (creativity comes very naturally to him).


That leads me to some points to ponder about The Elder’s perspective. So just saying you’re trying to “show him something” doesn’t work – maybe too general or vague?? Perhaps “It has pictures” with the corresponding persuasive come-and-get-it intonation (maybe… then again, maybe not. I bet monotone would get his attention faster) generates enough interest and curiosity for him to actually look to see. Any other thoughts? How do you handle lack of eye contact? Better yet, if you struggle with eye contact, what other insights can you offer?

Well, I’m totally stealing The Younger’s strategy. Thank you, Son!

about Commitment: What’s a resolution anyway?

  • January 3, 2010 11:46 pm

…the number of pixels per square inch on my monitor? …finding a solution to a problem? …the pretty chords you hear following the dissonant chords that sometimes make my skin crawl (that song from Phantom of the Opera comes to mind at the moment)?

Every year at this time you hear this phrase floating about: New Year’s Resolution. In this context:

res-o-lu-tion [rez-uh-loo-shuhn] noun
a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner

There’s a debate that exists on whether one should or should not declare a New Year’s Resolution. I heard (being a geek statistician and all) that roughly 97% of New Year’s Resolutions are not kept. (This doesn’t surprise me since I also know that about 3% of folks are natural-born leaders – the rest of us have to get trained.) So why bother if odds point to fail?

“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
– Oscar Wilde

This is the #1 debate that goes on in my head every January 1ish. Upon reflection, here are some points that I argue (with myself).

  • A resolution is goal-setting which is always a good thing. Throwing the dart when there’s not even a target will always be a miss. I feel like I’m moving forward when I finally make a decision about something. Ever heard “Indecision is the Devil’s playground” or “Sitting on the fence hurts”? When I’m stuck, I actually feel like I’m going backwards.
  • A decision isn’t a strategy. Too often I set a goal with absolutely no idea of how to do it. Without strategy, its hit or miss. If you’ve never been to the destination before, a map would come in handy. This is when I have to make sure I set a realistic start date and deadline. January 1st ought to be my first planning day instead of the first day I’m expected to do a 180. Hmmm…maybe the END of the year should be the deadline.
  • The goal means nothing without the effort. Perhaps my resolutions were broken because I never actually believed that I would accomplish them. Therefore I never committed to them. ‘Nuff sed.
  • Efforting is hard. I have a bad habit of keeping goals to myself and then forgetting about them trying to accomplish them. The more people I tell the more I get excited about my goals. Those endorphins kick in and I don’t seem nearly as fatigued. But the best help is asking someone to hold me accountable which is usually the missing ingredient for me and then I get burned out.
  • Staying motivated is key for commitment. If I’ve learned anything in the last 3 years, I’ve learned that motivation does NOT come from accomplishing a goal. Motivation comes via the REASON the goal was set in the first place, whether it be for joy, health, spirit, or [insert core value here].

So do I have a New Year’s Resolution? I do. And a New Year’s Strategy too! I resolve to make time to write, beginning with my blog. I unexpectedly announced it to myself in a reply to Lori @spinningyellow‘s tweet about HER resolution. My goal is to post at least once a week, however seeing that once a month is rare, I’m going to start with at least once a month. (January…check! Guess I can move up to biweekly now!) I am motivated by feedback because I learn about people, I learn about myself (usually that I’m too hard on myself or too full of myself), and the more I can learn the more open-minded I become and the better I can teach my kids how to navigate through this world. After all, they are the REASON I do about 98% of the things I do. From ‘Gotta eat so I don’t snap and throw one out the window’ to ‘Gotta hug and kiss The Hub so they don’t think they are the center of my universe all the time.’ (Yeah…I haven’t figured out how sudoku or bubble shooter benefits them yet. Guess that falls under the 2%.)

Now I’m asking my readers and ex-readers who thought I fell off the edge of the planet, to help hold me accountable. How? Comment often? Subscribe to my blog? Tweet/FB this post? Send me chocolate? Your resolution to share however and whenever will be most appreciated by me and will likely have a greater impact than you probably think.