Attention Autism’ was developed by specialist speech and language therapist, Gina Davies.
The approach is based on:
An understanding of the ‘typical’ attention levels and development of infants.
This enables us to think about where the student is at with their attention and communication development and what to work on next.
We know that people with autism are visual learners and have good visual skills; therefore, we should use visuals and pictures to share a message, reduce anxiety and add structure. We must also ensure we demonstrate an activity first, as well as modelling how to take part in an activity. This aids the Student’s understanding of what they need to do.
Successful communication is dynamic, motivating and fun, therefore we must
“offer an irresistible invitation to learn.”
Attention Autism is delivered in 4 stages
- Stage 1: To focus attention.
Use appealing objects to inspire attention and gain focus of child.
- Stage 2: To sustain attention.
Inspire attention with great activities.
- Stage 3: To shift attention
Attend to activity when participating and transfer back to the group once finished turn.
- Stage 4: Shifting & Re-engaging Attention
The adult leader demonstrates a simple creative task, and then gives each student an individual kit to copy the task. The students take their kits to a table, complete the task independently, and then everyone returns to the group to show their completed tasks.
More complex skills can be introduced as confidence and social skills develop e.g. sharing materials, working with a partner, problem solving.
Attention Autism principles can then be generalised to curriculum activities (e.g. literacy and numeracy) to facilitate learning and skill development.