By: Rose Griffin, SLP, BCBA
There is a strong bond between joint attention and both receptive and expressive language skills. When we work on joint attention, we are showing that our learners’ communication is powerful! I am sharing a few tips and ideas that I use to build connection before communication while working on joint attention goals.
These activities involve shared activities through playing with toys, singing songs, and reading books. It is okay if your student isn’t ready to fully engage when you introduce these activities, note their baseline data and move forward with goals. You will be amazed to see the transformation and excitement over these simple activities.
Playing with toys in therapy is all about creating an interaction in a semi-structured environment. Remember to use simple language and allow for natural curiosity and play and not bombard with questions.
Examples of toys I love to use:
- Car and car track
- Mini Objects
- Farm Set
Build excitement around the book, use books with repetition, and if your kids like it try an animated voice which can be really fun.
A few books I love to keep in my therapy bag that are a great success for joint attention are, Pete the Cat and his White Shoes, Brown Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Students love songs, they are familiar, and create engagement. I also love to use visuals that can be just laminated pictures or little toys that match the activity of the song. It can also be engaging to sing songs that have motions for the words.
Songs I love:
- Old Macdonald
- Wheels on the Bus
- Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
It can be difficult to keep data and set goals around these abstract ideas, be sure to check out my goal bank on ABA speech. I hope you love these ideas and get use out of them in your next therapy session!
Rose Griffin, SLP, BCBA is dedicated to helping SLPs and other professionals provide systematic language instruction with ease. Working with students with autism and other complex communication disorders can be challenging. Rose has dedicated herself to helping by providing professional development and real life examples of what she does in her daily practice. See her podcast, blog, and collaboration opportunities at www.abaspeech.org