Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday's Child

Look me in the Eyes!!!

As with many children with autism, Little Monkey has a hard time making eye contact with anyone. Last weeks session went very well until we began to initiate some eye contact exercises. He would get very frustrated when his OT would not give him an object without eye contact. But after a few tries he got the idea that he was not going to get what he wanted until he looked her in the eyes. She and I discussed a few ideas of how to get that much wanted eye contact and I thought that I would expand on those ideas.

One tip she had was to hold the object close to your face to get the desired affect. If that doesn't work try moving the object around your face, stopping at your eyes. Here are a few ideas that I have read about or heard about from other moms.

Try using funny glasses. This will direct your child to look at you in the eyes.When they look at you, just simply smile at them or give them a non-verbal reinforcer they like, Example: squeezes or tickles.

Another way to increase the spontaneous eye contact is when your child looks at you, deliver the reinforcer immediately. (Note: This should be the only time you deliver this reinforcer. Then the child will start to connect the two.)
Example: deliver a gummy bear with a child whenever they looked at you or someone else. Gummy bears should only be used to reinforce eye contact and no other programs.

Get out your play-doh, roll it out and make a large pretzel. Wear it like glasses (or a mask) and sing, "Ah-ah-ah-ah, Pretzel-mom (Dad, etc)!" (We use the tune from the Larry-Boy cartoon from the Veggie-tales videos). Then help/guide them to roll out a pretzel for themselves and wear it like glasses. Sing together, "Ah-ah-ah-ah, Pretzel-Boy!" You can then run around trying to fly or save the day. Or not! Depending on if you want to save your reputation or not. LOL!

Get out your quarters, silver dollars, bingo chips or large round candies and stick them in your eyes and pretend you don't know they're there. Then interact like you normally do and follow their lead, give them turns, etc. or if it's edible, give them one to eat when they look at you/show interest in your eyes/face. Or pretend to be blind. Let them try to do it too. See how much fun you can have building interest in your face and eyes. You might take a selection of materials if the learner is older, and help them choose which items might make angry eyes, or happy eyes, or scared or sad, etc. Ask them WHY they made the choices they did. Note: Please do not do this with younger children around who love to put money in there mouths!!! Wait till they are asleep!

Well I hope these tips will help you maintain eye contact with your special kiddo! If you have a tip that you'd like to share that has helped your child. Please feel free to leave me a comment! It doesn't have to pertain to today's post.


  1. Anonymous9:16 PM

    I like your new template! Come on over to my blog. You won!

  2. Great post! I'm up with the tag Tiff. I hope you enjoy.:)

  3. You have visited my site a few times on Wordless Wednesday... Do you have a child with Autism? My oldest son has Autism. He is 8 years old now. Blessings to you today and will talk to you later..


I love comments!!! I will try to reply to your comments. But please be patient. I have three kiddos in the house and sometimes I am a tad preoccupied.