Title: Children with autism’s response to novel stimuli while participating in Interventions targeting joint attention or symbolic play skills
Authors: Amanda C. Gulsrud, Connie Kasari, Stephanny Freeman and Tanya Paparella
Source: Autism 2007; 11; 535

In this well designed study the researchers randomly assigned 35 children (average age 3.5 years) to one of two treatment groups: a group focused on joint attention training or a group focused on symbolic play training. After the 8 week training program the children were exposed to a new visual and auditory stimulus (bouncing ball for example). The researchers found that kids involved in the joint attention training program showed better shared interactions as measured by joint attention behaviors (following someone’s else gaze, pointing, etc). The major implication of this study is that specific joint attention training interventions seem to be effective in improving joint attention skills in children with autism. Here is a nice graphic example of joint attention: Joint Attention Picture

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