Social interaction, communication and restrictive and repetitive behaviors are the three main characteristics of children with autism.
The deficit in social interaction shows through the lack of joint attention, play techniques, eye contact, pointing, sharing, social initiations (verbal or nonverbal) and social or emotional exchanges.
Specifically, joint attention has been linked to numerous important developmental outcomes including language acquisition and ability, parent-child relationships and social abilities.
So what exactly is Joint attention?
Joint attention is an early-developing social-communicative skill in which two people (usually a young child and an adult) use gestures and gaze to share attention with respect to interesting objects or events.
Joint attention and children with Autism
Joint attention abilities plays a crucial role in the development of children with autism because it is something that is very hard for almost all children with autism to do.
Impairments in joint attention are among the earliest signs of autism spectrum disorder.
Joint attention skills are being targeted in early intervention programs to give a better long-term outcome for children with Autism.
In order to be characterised as joint attention, the goal of the interaction must be strictly social; the child’s intent is to share something enjoyable with the individual and the reward of gaining that adult attention is a social interaction.
Visuals designed for children with Autism will help unlock your child’s world as research clearly shows that individuals with autism spectrum disorders are visual learners.
Autism and visuals
The Flashcards is a useful tool in gaining attention from a child with Autism as the best activities for joint attention are based on visually motivating objects.
The Flashcards pictures are clear photographic images so they can draw the child’s attention and hold it for some time. The visuals will help a child express ideas better and easier, especially important for children who might have difficulties with words.
By having the visuals the verbal input from adults is reduced which in return reduces possible stress, so the interaction becomes more relaxed.
Children with Autism may also have sensory sensitivities, using visual aids helps the children with Autism focus better and focus on the concept rather than other situations.