1. Pick a partner, and spend several minutes talking without looking at each other in the eye. Now repeat the experiment while also fixing each other’s gaze. Did you notice any difference in how you felt? In how the two of you communicated? Was it easier or more difficult to understand one another during the first or the second conversation?
2. First, list everything you know about the topic of autism. Next, skim the article and explainer. Predict some of the things you might learn about autism from your reading.
1. How has autism affected Matthew Shumaker?
2. What is unknown about autism?
3. Why is early diagnosis important?
4. Explain why experts prefer the term “autism spectrum disorders.”
5. Provide some reasons why children with autism may have difficulty interacting with others.
6. Name one autism myth.
7. Why are some autism researchers interested in the immune system?
8. Explain the simple autism test that can be used on infants.
1. How did reading this article change your understanding of autism? If you know someone with autism, in what way has it explained some of the behaviors you’ve seen in that person?
2. In teaching manners to their children, parents often stress the importance of looking people in the eye when greeting them. Based on your reading of this story, explain how doing so might go beyond just good manners. How can it promote positive social interactions?
1. Far more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism. Can you think of any reasons that might contribute to this difference? Explain your answer.
2. Everyone feels shy or uncomfortable from time to time. Brainstorm with a partner and come up with a list of situations that promote these feelings — and some ways technology could help overcome them.
B. Nelson. Autism unlocked, pt. 1. Science News for Students. April 1, 2014.