As name suggests, Joint Attention is the shared focus or attention of two people usually a young child and an adult on an object or an event. Joint attention is an early developing social communicative skill in which they use gestures and gazes to share attention with respect to interesting objects. Joint attention also plays a major role in language development, both receptive and expressive languages.
Initiating and responding to joint attention starts at 8 – 9 months of age. At this stage, the child smiles at an object and then turns the smiles to communication with words, looks and gestures like painting. she is playing with the toy and the child looks at you.
Impairments in joint attention are one of the earliest signs of autism. It causes deficits in language, play and social development. Children may have difficulty in acquiring developmental skills including learning how to interact with others, make friends, talking, understanding words and how to process and use incoming information. They inconsistently respond to words, gestures and actions. Thus impairments in joint attention can affect development of child negatively.