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Joint Attention

First, joint attention occurs when two separate individuals share focus on an object, activity, or event — but it involves initiating and responding to bids to share attention. To initiate joint attention, people often point to something so that another person may see what they see. Joint attention is a pivotal skill, one which influences communication development and social interaction. Recent research shows that children with autism can be taught to expand their joint attention skills, but they have to learn some basic components, such as the ability to track where someone else is looking. The ability to monitor where someone is looking is part of what Baron-Cohen (1991) has called an Eye Direction Detector.

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