Not the one you probably initially thought of. But the pointer, aka index finger. As parents of a child with autism, we’ve learned a lot in the last year about the importance of communication, and this one hit us hard. We never really noticed, but Luca wasn’t a pointer. He was definitely a talker! Or to be more precise, he was/is a scripter. He hears and repeats. But one important gesture wasn’t part of his routine. Pointing.
In a recent speech therapy course my husband and I just took, we learned about several stages that Luca sort of skipped, including gesturing and pointing. We didn’t realize how important this small gesture is. Simply by sticking out my finger I engage another person. And without using words, I tell that person what it is I want or something I want them to see.
That simple gesture is the beginning of joint communication. It signifies that the child recognizes that you see something different and the child wants to engage with you and show you what he/she sees. It’s so simple and so amazing and so important as a beginning for social communication!
And the best part… it’s never too late to work on this skill. We’ve started working on it with Luca when reading books by asking him to point to different objects. We have Aviana working on it as well. Since we began focusing on this little gesture, Luca’s communication and his ability to understand others perspective has improved tremendously!
Here is a great article to learn more about it. Enjoy! And keep spreading LOVE.