Let’s inspire a love of looking at people!
“Because the more our children look at us, the more they learn from us…
“Where our eyes go to, often indicates where our attention goes. The same is true for children on the autism spectrum! When children on the autism spectrum look at us, they are interested in us, and might be ready to engage with us. Spontaneous eye contact from children on the autism spectrum is a great event to be celebrated and cherished! It is not easy for someone on the autism spectrum to maintain eye contact with other people. Yet, there are times that our brave children and adults on the autism spectrum venture out of their comfort zone and are willing to do this.
“At the Autism Treatment Center of America® we want to acknowledge and nurture this eye contact, because it will help our children in so many ways. Here are a few great benefits:
• “Looking at us, allows our children to see the love and joy that we have for them. Our facial expressions carry a lot of emotions and unless someone looks at our face, they might miss this.
• “When our children look at us, they will be able to learn more from us.
• “When they look, they will notice subtle social cues from people. For example, knowing if someone is actually listening to them, or if they are interested in their topic of conversation. Children on the autism spectrum might not notice these subtle cues if they do not see the other person’s face.
“This might seem like a small thing, but it’s huge!!!
“Here are some things you can do to inspire your child on the Autism Spectrum to want to look more at you (and at the people in their lives) using techniques from The Son-Rise Program®:
1. “Allow them to look at you when they want, versus forcing them to look or offering a reward to prompt them to look at you.
2. “Show genuine excitement in your facial expressions, when your child does look at you. Smile with your whole face and heart!
3. “Celebrate your child’s looks by letting them know how thrilled you feel about it.
4. “Be silly and playful – this goes a long way and helps our children not only to want to look at us more, but to engage and participate more with us.
5. “Be a role model! Look at your child when you speak to them. We all have a busy life and sometimes need to create an intention to do this more often 😉
6. “Leave more pauses in conversations and wait until your child looks at you, before you continue talking. This will give your child a reason to look at you.
“Have fun with this and let us know how it goes!!!”
Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher