Joint Attention

Joint Attention

20 April, 2020
Last week I discussed the use of gestures in key word signs in the development of early language. In this blog I mention the importance of joint attention.
 What is joint attention?
Joint attention is the ability to share a common focus on something with someone else (this includes people, objects, concepts, events, etc). It is a social form of communication that develops in infancy and progresses throughout early childhood. This social communication or behaviour allows two people to share focus on an object for the sole purpose of sharing with each other. Joint attention involves the ability to gain, maintain, and shift attention. It is considered to be a critical component for social development, language acquisition, and cognitive development.
When does joint attention develop?
The earliest beginnings of joint attention are seen in the newborn and develop throughout early childhood and is typically well established by 18 months.
Newborn to 8 months
8 to 12 months
12 to 15 months
15 to 18 months
What are some of the components of joint attention?
These include:
Why is joint attention so important?
Joint attention is needed for:
How do I improve my child’s joint attention?
Some ways to increase joint attention include:
What should you do when engaging in any activity to gain a child’s joint attention?
When should I be concerned about my child’s difficulties with joint attention?
It is often hard to determine when your child is finding it difficult to share joint attention activities with you.
Some signs are:
What conditions are associated with delays in joint attention?
It is common for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to have difficulty with tasks involving joint attention. We also see that children with developmental delays due to a variety of causes may have some difficulty with joint attention.
At Therapies for Kids, we are determined to offer activities to your child during therapy to encourage the development of joint attention.  We will also endeavour to coach you in the necessary skills for you to engage your child in activities which will develop joint attention, leading to improved communication and social skills, which are essential ingredients in a child’s development.
I hope that you find the information in the above blog useful.  If you have any concerns, please speak to your GP, paediatrician, or therapist.
I hope you stay safe and healthy during this difficult time.
By Kristy Allison
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