3 maneras en que un programa terapéutico de preescolar puede ayudar a los niños con el contacto visual

Eye contact plays an important role in our daily lives and every social interaction, whether or not we recognize it. In our society especially, parents ingrain the importance of eye contact during conversations. In children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays that impact communication, eye contact does not always come easily. Many other social skills can also be challenging for children on the spectrum, so a child may benefit from ABA therapy or a therapeutic preschool program, as a way to develop important skills.

ABA, or applied behavior analysis, is an evidence-based method of intervention for children on the autism spectrum or with other challenging behaviors. ABA is widely used because the method targets critical areas of development, including communication and language, social skills, cognition, motor skills, and more. ABA therapy can also be provided in a wide range of settings, including in schools (including therapeutic preschool programs), in the home, in a private practice, or more. It is also important to note that ABA sessions can be customized for every child, since every child is a unique learner with individual abilities and needs. Throughout the course of ABA, the therapist will use strategies to help the child build positive developmental skills and improve challenging behaviors. If a child is having difficulty maintaining eye contact with others during social interactions, their ABA therapy sessions will likely target social skills. Therapeutic preschool programs may also incorporate ABA domains into their daily routines for children.

¿Cómo puede un programa preescolar terapéutico ayudar con el contacto visual?
Si el profesor de un programa preescolar terapéutico observa que uno de sus alumnos tiene dificultades para establecer contacto visual con los demás en las interacciones sociales, puede poner en práctica estrategias útiles para mejorar esta habilidad.

1. Indicaciones verbales: si un niño mira continuamente hacia abajo o aparta la vista de las personas que intentan hablar con él, el profesor puede utilizar indicaciones verbales para recordarle que debe mantener el contacto visual. Pueden decir algo parecido a: "No entiendo cómo te sientes si no me miras a los ojos".

2. Objetos de gran interés: Una señal verbal puede ser útil en algunos niños, pero un objeto físico puede ser más eficaz para otros niños. Un profesor o un terapeuta de ABA podría sostener un juguete de gran interés junto a la cara del niño, para ayudarle a dirigir su mirada y a centrarse en su cara (ojalá en los ojos).

3. Reinforcement: Teachers and therapists will regularly use positive reinforcement in ABA therapy to encourage children to build positive skills and behaviors. The same tactic can be used for teaching eye contact. When a child exhibits this skill, their teacher or therapist should provide positive feedback accordingly.

If you think a therapeutic preschool program could help your child with social skill development, click the purple button below or contact CST Academy at 773-620-7800 to learn more about the wide range of services we offer for children. We offer ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.