Attention Autism is an intervention model designed by Gina Davies, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. It aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities. Gina’s primary objective is that the sessions are fun and “offer an irresistible invitation to learn”!
Attention Autism originates from the idea that successful communication is dynamic, engaging and joyful. We learn best when we work with enthusiasm, motivation and creativity. We remember good times and shared experiences.
Attention autism provides opportunities for communication; it works on eye contact, gesture, facial expression, proximity, body language and shared experiences.
Attention Autism builds on the strengths of children who have excellent visual skills, a memory for motivating activities and lots of energy.
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!
Attention Autism is divided into four stages:
- 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)
During each session (usually lasting for approximately fifteen minutes), the teacher undertakes activities that are visually interesting and exciting for pupils to watch, using lots of colour and sound to encourage engagement, eye contact as well as spontaneous vocalisations.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication method where pictures are given to a communication partner (parent, teacher) in order for learners to exchange their symbol or sentence strip for what they want.
There are 6 different phases of PECS, including how to communicate, picture discrimination, sentence structure, expanding language and commenting. This could be using photo, symbol or words to request what they want.