How to get spontaneous eye contact when your child has autism

A great way to get your child to look at you on their own is by providing sensory input. Most children like swinging, tickles, spinning, or squeezing; use this as the reward for making eye contact. Make sure you’re within close proximity and begin with a couple of freebies, then stop. Wait for them to look at you, and when they do, provide sensory input again!! Eventually, the child will begin to look at you because they’re enjoying the activity. After a couple of trials of sensory input, stop and walk away. See if they’ll start to approach you for more. If they’re really engaged with your face, use that opportunity to make silly faces and babbling sounds.

Boys and Dolls

Let’s discuss boys and baby dolls. Culturally, we are taught that only girls play with dolls, but boys can play with dolls too! Role play helps to problem solve while working through scenarios. You can also observe the child’s capabilities of the skill during play.

  • If your son is a picky eater, play with baby dolls to work on exposure to new foods.
  • If your son doesn’t use utensils, play with dolls to work on motor coordination.
  • If you’re expecting another baby, play with dolls to prepare your son for their role as a big brother.
  • If your son is rough with other children or animals, play with dolls to work on empathy. 

Playing with dolls gives your child more opportunities to practice new skills. 

Have fun playing! 

Hand Puppets

Encourage language by singing songs that are repetitive. Old MacDonald is my go-to song!! These hand puppets will also help with motor and social skills.

Here are some ways to target each skill:

  • Language : Have your kiddo identify and label each animal. Have them imitate animal sounds. Leave phrases out while singing and have your kiddo fill them in.
  • Motor : Model for your kiddo how to use their fingers to move the puppet’s hands. Move one hand at a time. Move them both together.
  • Social : Have each animal interact with each other and say something about themself. For example, the horse can say, “I’m brown. I eat apples.”

Have fun playing!!