Wednesday, July 14, 2010
One Family's Journey: Eye Contact
One of the big jobs of adoption is teaching or in our case re-teaching your child family skills. Our son was about 15 months when we adopted him and he refused to look us in the eyes regularly for a long time. This was really disconcerting. All day long people would fawn over our very adorable son and tell us how much we looked like a family all while he would avoid looking at us as much as possible.
There are lots of tricks that you can use to teach eye-contact use but of the easiest for us was the "food between the eyes" trick. We would hold pieces of bread between our eyes so he would have to look at us when he asked for food. Otherwise he would studiously stare at the ceiling for the whole time we fed him. The idea is that doing this helps your child associate your eyes, your face, and you as the person who is now caring for him and providing food. Food=love to people of all ages and it is very important to establish yourself as the food people. Other ways of practicing eye contact include hide and seek and peekaboo games, singing songs together and making goofy faces. We used all these tactics but for us and our active little guy the "tortilla chip" between the eyes trick worked best! If you have more tips for parents who are teaching eye contact leave them in the comments!
Disclaimer: I am not an adoption expert, social worker, therapist, doctor or even an experienced Mom. Everything I blog about is our personal experience and should not be considered professional advice.