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POINTING – A KEY COMMUNICATION TOOL

20 January 2011 2,882 views 3 Comments

Pointing is one of the earliest nonverbal modes of communication typically growing children develop. While dragging the adult to place/object of desire or stretching hand towards place/object of desire often does not help the child show the adult exactly what he/she wants, “Pointing” gives them that power – to clearly define what he precisely wants (maybe among all the boxes on the rack or toys on the shelf).

Pointing helps us show others what we need as well as understand what they need, this is more specifically called proto-imperative pointing. It also helps us share our experiences with others (pointing to the dazzling stars) and share their experiences with them (maybe something funny), this is more specifically called proto-declarative pointing. Children as young as 9 months understand when objects in close proximity are pointed at and by 12 months of age, most children will begin to point to show objects of interest.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often fail to understand how pointing could be used to get their point across to others (even if they do not want to speak). And sometimes, they will point to get objects they want, but they lack the social skills to share their interests with others. This is even seen among individuals who are diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

It is believed that limited pointing or the absence of pointing as a communicative tool is often a consequence of the lack of or absence of “Theory of Mind” in individuals with ASD.

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3 Comments »

  • Michèle Hébert said:

    Pointing comes from being able to joint attend. Joint attention is critical to developing communication and to being able to socially interact with peers and others. I speak to important therapies to incorporate in a program for young children with Autism on my blog at http://www.ChildrenStrategies.com Feel free to take a look and give your opinion. Blessings to your family.

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