How autism can affect attention and interaction

Children and young people with autism may find it challenging to interpret and understand their environment and others within their environment. Please click on this Make It Stop video link.

For example, a child or young person with autism may not make eye contact or may not respond to his or her name or someone’s gestures without being instructed to do so.    To gain someone’s attention, a child or young person may not point or make contact or have the communication or capacity to ask for help or support.

Joint attention or shared attention involves using eye contact and gestures to share experiences with others. To read Krstovska-Guerrero and Jones (2013), “Joint attention in autism: Teaching smiling coordinated with gaze to respond to joint attention bids”.

Difficulty with joint attention can also make it difficult for children and young people with autism to learn skills like taking turns, interpreting facial expressions, or keeping to the topic of a conversation.  To develop communication and language skills the skill of joint attention, individuals may need to learn the skill of joint attention. For further reading click here.