’Opening Doors’ - Part 4

Visually Attending

At this level we are observing whether the child "stills"(demonstrated by quietening of their body movement) for a few seconds, up to possibly a few minutes, after entering the colour tent. This may be for a longer length of time than has been previously noted, however, even if a response is for a fleeting moment only and is inconsistent, it could be an indication of the start of increased visual processing and sensory awakening. In beginning to show a response of visually attending to a stimulus it may appear that the child is lifting or moving their head and eyes to explore the visual stimulus. Careful observation is needed to record any response and to note the timing. Note should also be taken of any increased movement (however small) of the head and eyes to use the upper field of vision. Any movement of the head from side to side should also be noted, or any indication of a visual preference for one side over another.

Case Study: Visually Attending

Ali used the fluorescent vibrant orange tent for daily sessions in school as a sensory cue to begin her day. This new found visual awareness soon developed into visually attending for longer periods of time (up to 20 minutes of full engagement). She would calm and still her body movement and gaze (starting with her left field of vision) and begin to look upwards,occasionally turning to the right side. While in the tent she frequently giggled and smiled whilst also increasing her happy vocalisations. Upon leaving the tent Ali would appear to be calm and seem ready to begin intensive interaction activities using her vocalisations as the lead. After a few months she also began to respond to using her vision with scanning a moving light source in the tent.

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