Thursday, May 28, 2009

Development: Learning Joint Attention

"Joint attention" means the active sharing of an experience with your preemie. When both of you are actively looking at an object or event - sharing in the moment. This can be a very difficult skill for some preemies to learn but it is really important for learning speech and social skills.

Here are some ways for you to help your preemie develop this skill:

"Look at me" - While your preemie is sitting near you, tell him/her to "look at me" and wait for him/her to look. If he/she doesn't than say it again but gently tap his/her face and then your own face. Again, wait for your preemie to look.

"Look" Part 1 - Hold up a toy and say "look." Wait for your preemie to look at the toy. When he/she looks, give him/her the toy as a reward. You can also point to a toy and say "look." Once your preemie has looked at the toy than give it to him/her to play with.

"Look" Part 2 - Blow bubbles and say "look." When your preemie looks at you, blow more bubbles and then say "look" again while you point at the bubbles.

"Look" Part 3 - Reading books is a great way to help encourage your preemie to grasp the "look" concept. As you read a book, point to the picture and say "look." You want your preemie to look at you and then look at the picture.

You can practice this concept anywhere or with anything that your preemie might be interested in. A balloon, family member, trees, anything that will attract your preemies attention and get him/her to share the experience with you.

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