Giving the child opportunities to reference visually is important. I'm not talking about eye contact. I am referring to referencing for meaning.
On a yahoo list called Autism-remediation-for-our-children, where parents share ideas with one another, one parent recently shared using the game "Hangman" to give her daughter repeated opportunities to reference for meaning.
I got permission to share it here:
we played hangman. I drew the gallows, and the space for the letters in the word on the board (we have a chalkboard) and sat side-by-side and then I gave my daughter the chalk. She already was familiar with the game, so that was a non-issue. What was different here, was I was completely non-verbal. She would guess the letter and would have her chalk held in the air, ready to write, while I paaauuused, maybe vocalizing, "Hmmmmmm..." and then when she would eventually turn to reference, I was ready with clear non-verbal communication (face, body language)...as it got more proficient, I just did the facial expression. It was hard at first, b/c we were working on a weakness, but eventually she got it! I never directly asked her to look at me, so that she could make the discovery developmentally.The example was too beautiful not to share. I wish I'd read this when we were busy extinguishing referencing in ABA drills.