It is often said that people with ASD are unable to read emotions.  And yet most people communicate their emotions through their facial expressions or their tone of voice as well as words.

While most children learn how facial expressions and gestures work quite naturally by watching and interacting with their parents, visual distortions and face blindness can interfere with that process.  And that leaves the child unable to use facial expressions or gestures.

The child with face blindness or other severe visual problems will generally not be able to:

* Identify people correctly by sight alone. Looking at faces close up will give a clearer picture – although he may also use other clues like smell.  Thus he may not even recognize you . . .

* Read facial expressions or body language properly - making it impossible for him to communicate or interact with others in a ‘normal’ manner.

* Find his way around an apparently familiar building easily – which can be particularly difficult when in need of a toilet.

Such visual problems cause great anxiety but unfortunately, they frequently remain undiagnosed. Thus both the child and his parents can be unaware that he sees differently from his peers. This compounds the problems and, combined with his inability to cope as others do can lead to frustration and poor self esteem.

Checklist re visual differences

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