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5 Ways to Support... Eye Contact

If your child doesn't readily look at you during interactions, or actively avoids eye contact, this could be indicative of a social interaction difficulty and they may benefit from support to develop this social skills. Try the strategies below to gently and naturally encourage them to look to you during shared play and interactions.

1. Wait/pause

When offering of giving your child a motivating item pause and wait for them to communicate with you. Ideally hold out long enough for them to look at you, giving them the item as soon as eye contact is made (no matter how fleetingly).

2. Hold items close to your face

If your child actively avoids eye contact and pausing alone is not enough to encourage them to look at you hold items close to your face/eye to support them to look in the right direction. Again, except even fleeting eye contact initially.

3. Ready, steady, go!

When engaged in motivating activities use ready, steady, go! routines to teach and encourage consistent use of eye contact. Pause before saying 'go', waiting for your child to look at you before saying 'go' and continuing the preferred activities. Your child will learn the routine and look at you in increasing consistency.

4. Respond

Respond to any attempts to look at you/make eye contact your child makes. They need to lean the power of this from of non-verbal communication and the positive responses that can go with it.

5. Gesture

If your child is still struggling to look to you during shared and structured activities use gesture, such as pointing, to direct their attention to your face and eyes.

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