Attention Autism is a learning approach created by speech and language therapist Gina Davies, that aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication skills in Autistic young people through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities.
Aims of Attention Autism:
- To engage attention
- To improve joint attention
- To develop shared enjoyment in group activities
- To increase attention in adult-led activities
- To encourage spontaneous interaction in a natural group setting
- To increase non-verbal and verbal communication through commenting
- To build a wealth and depth of vocabulary
- To have fun
Stages of Attention Autism:
The Attention Autism programme progresses through a series of stages, building on each skill level. Each new stage is introduced when the child is ready to expand attention skills.
The Attention Autism activity structure is divided into 4 parts:
- Stage 1: Attention bucket (to focus attention)
- Stage 2: Attention builder (to sustain attention)
- Stage 3: Interactive game (to shift attention)
- Stage 4: Individual activities (to focus and sustain attention in a group, then transition shifting attention to individual activity and then refocus on the group)
Stage 1 Bucket and focus attention
A bucket is filled with visually engaging toys, aiming to teach children how to focus their attention. The adult leader presents a toy to the group and uses simple vocabulary to make comments on the objects.
- Stage 2 The attention builder
Highly appealing and visually stimulating practical activities are presented to the group by the adult leader. This stage aims to sustain concentration and attention for a longer period.
- Stage 3 The Interactive Game – Turn Taking and Shifting Attention
A simple engaging activity is demonstrated by the adult leader who then invites some children to have a turn. Children learn how to shift their attention to their own individual participation and then back to the group. They also learn essential skills of sharing, understanding missing a turn, turn-taking and waiting.
- Stage 4: Individual activity – Focus, Shift and Re-engage Attention
The adult demonstrates a simple creative task and then gives each child an individual kit to copy. Children focus their attention in a group to watch a demonstration, then shift their attention to an individual activity and lastly return attention to the group to show their completed task. Children also build their independence skills and following instructions skills.