Think of a time when a child has pointed out an object to you. Maybe it was a squirrel on the playground or a toy on the other side of the room. This is an example of directing attention. It occurs when a person uses eye gaze or gesture to direct another person’s attention to an object.
Following attention is another way children can share attention to objects in their environment. It occurs when a person follows another person’s eye gaze or gesture. Gaze following is one example. It is a term used to describe when a person looks where another person is looking. Gaze following is a powerful way for infants to learn and form social connections before they are able to talk. But when does it develop?
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- a developmental disorder that impairs a child’s social and communication skills
- Directing attention
- using eye gaze or a gesture to direct another person’s attention to an object or event
- Following attention
- following another person’s eye gaze or gesture
- Gaze following
- looking at what another person is looking at
- Joint attention
- shared attention between social partners to an object or event