Managing Attention

Objective: Child will become more aware of others and what others are doing

  • Using little predictable routines so as to become more predictable (Click, Click, Click Game)

  • Becoming the source of things that the child enjoys

  • Exaggerating facial expressions

  • Using an expressive voice

  • Interrupting routines

  • Imitating the child (Drum Imitation Game)

  • Expectantly waiting for a response after trying to interact with the child

  • Using visual rather than verbal communication (pictures, demonstrations, gestures)

  • Using music including a more melodic voice, funny and repetitive sounds

Additional Links: Come Play With Me

Objective: Child will willingly engage in playful social interaction

    • Being playful while interactive

    • Talking less and using predictable language

    • Demonstrating simple (not too many steps) playful routines

    • Being observant and noting what the child enjoys and using this information

    • Adding an enjoyable sensory experiences to play (i.e. swinging, jumping, tickling, water play)

Objective: Child will shift attention rapidly between people, activities and toys

    • slowing down the routine so that it it not so rapid and then gradually speeding up as the child can successfully shift attention

    • using an indrawn breath, a more emotional voice, or an exaggerated facial expression to draw child's eyes to your face

    • playing games where looking at someone or listening to someone is part of the game

    • reducing or eliminating competing distractions (i.e. turn off television, remove toys that are not being used in the game, reduce the number of people in the room)

Objective: Child will pay attention when routines change

    • Providing information about when routines will change including visual schedules, transition songs (e.g. Clean up songs)

    • Making clear endings to one game or activity and then a clear beginning to the next activity (e.g. saying "All done ______, Time for ______" with each activity having a name that is always the same)

Objective: Child will Pay attention when a game that is not the preferred game

    • Start to teach a child to pay attention by interacting with the child using preferred topics or playing a preferred game

    • Integrate new topics or games gradually but keep some aspects or elements of the preferred topic or game (e.g.

    • Let the child know how long you will be talking about a non-preferred topic or playing a non-preferred game

Objective: Child will notice what a play partner is looking at, doing, feeling, or trying to accomplish

    • play games where noticing is part of the game and required to accomplish the goals of the game

    • pre-teach language skills needed to understand what others are doing, feeling, or trying to accomplish

    • model noticing what others are looking at, doing, feeling and trying to accomplish and model this in such a way that the child can understand that is what you are doing