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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

How do you teach your child what pointing means?

Posted by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 12:58 AM
  • 16 Replies

My toddler LOVES to point... but not really... what he is really doing is TOUCHING everything that interests him with his pointing finger. He's not pointing to draw my attention to something, and he insists on touching it with his fingertip.

And, when I point to something across the room, he looks at my finger, not the item I'm pointing to.

How do I teach him to look at what I'm pointing to, rather than my finger? I'm sure once he gets that, he will start pointing at things from a distance like you're supposed to.

He is 17 months old; 15 months adjusted (he was a preemie). I know he's too young to be diagnosed (he's having an initial eval in 2 weeks), but he definitely has some ASD red flags, and this is one of them. Would love any suggestions... thanks so much.

by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 12:58 AM
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Replies (1-10):
KatyTylersMom
by Silver Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:08 AM

You can play games like "point tooooooooooo MOMMY"  "point toooooooooooo THE DOG" where you both have to point to the item/person/toy/animal.  Can make it labeling body parts "point toooooo MY NOSE... point toooooo YOUR NOSE (yeah that's right I worked some pronoun recognition in there!)" or just a fun tub activity like hold up two toys and say "OH MY which one is the DUCK???" kind of thing. 

mypbandj
by Jen on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:10 AM
I wish I paid closer attention earlier on with my son. What I do know is that he was 2 1/2 when I called early intervention and one of my "complaints" was that he wasn't pointing very often. I wish I had paid attention and tried to teach him or see if he could do it earlier on but I didn't know. I remember telling them how he would want a specific cup and I had no clue which one he wanted because he just said "that one." I had to pick him up and stand him on the counter so he could either touch what he wanted or just pick it up himself.

We worked hard at eye contact and he did start pointing. Although he doesn't always point, he can do it. Sometimes he points with a whole hand and sometimes not at all. He is 38 months old today.
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Alma4Mom
by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:20 AM

My son points and looks at his fingers his concentration is so intense I think it is a form of stimming.

MrsJohnnyG
by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:27 AM
Thanks so much. Btw, one reason he points all the time is that he's obsessed with shadows (a stim, maybe?). He will slowly move his pointing hand toward and away from a surface to study its shadow. He ALWAYS has his hands with the index finger pointing, even as he's falling asleep (and I have no doubt he dreams about pointing). Will try your suggestions and see if it helps him understand what pointing is for.

Oh, he does point "correctly" if I give him two choices and ask him which one he wants... But even then, he always touches the item, never points from a distance.
HippoCat
by Hadley on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:43 AM

What a cutie!! My son still isn't big on pointing or following a point, but he does do it a lot more now. He also does it more with three fingers than the pointer finger and really concentrates. I couldnt get him interested in any pointing games so I started doing hand over hand to have him point at things in a book or at things in the room. To get him to follow a point I would gently turn his head to look in the direction of my point. 

BTW-When my son was evaluated by the school district they said that he was more interested in looking at the shadows on the ground than people which was another indicator of Autism. Well, shadows ARE pretty cool if you think about it:)

JTMOM422
by Brenda on Jul. 31, 2013 at 9:01 AM
1 mom liked this

to teach my son pointing we started with hand over hand. Then when he would get it right we would give him a treat. hand over hand for most things we want him to do. like put in, put on, 

mypbandj
by Jen on Jul. 31, 2013 at 9:55 AM
I was watching a video on pointing and they said they cannot touch the object for it to be appropriate pointing.

Quoting MrsJohnnyG:

Thanks so much. Btw, one reason he points all the time is that he's obsessed with shadows (a stim, maybe?). He will slowly move his pointing hand toward and away from a surface to study its shadow. He ALWAYS has his hands with the index finger pointing, even as he's falling asleep (and I have no doubt he dreams about pointing). Will try your suggestions and see if it helps him understand what pointing is for.



Oh, he does point "correctly" if I give him two choices and ask him which one he wants... But even then, he always touches the item, never points from a distance.
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ReachtotheStars
by Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:43 PM

that is exactly how Nick was like.  He is 5 with ASD.  We haven't really been able to teach him.  It has just become a fact of life that when you wave your finger idly in the air he looks at your finger tip like you are an idiot.  Therapists have tried, but the best we have done was physical touching in a book.  

Like the kind with lots of pictures and just words.  So I point to cat, say cat then use his finger to touch the cat and say cat, so now when you ask for some things in a book he can touch them with his finger tip.  

Other stuff is just walk and show him.  

ReachtotheStars
by Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Oh and my little guy got his diagnosis from our primary care dr at 9 months and by 12 months has a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder and by 18 months the dev ped apologized and gave the official diagnosis of autism.  

emarin77
by Silver Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Hey you never know how young is too young for diagnosis.  You can try and the earlier the better for treatment.  I would  read him a book or bring him to what you want your son to look at without pointing.

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