Tricks To Increase Interaction & Attention

Very often parents expect quick progress (usually for immediate word production) when they start attending speech therapy. The true fact which all parents has to realise is that there are a lot of pre-requisite early language skills that typically developing kids should master before they are able to comprehend and express language.

For instance, consider language development as a house. So we know that inorder to build a wall and a roof we need to have a solid foundation similarly for language development, Joint attention (Joint attention occurs when two people share an interest in the same activity or object. It is characterised by eye gaze or pointing as well as one’s ability to communicate interest to the other person by non- verbal means) is the most important foundational skill along with other prelinguistic skills such as pointing, gestures, turn taking and playing in most typically developing children before they are able to talk/ communicate. As we know that many kids who are diagnosed with ASD and ADHD may skip this step when developing language which causes hindrance to communicate in future.

If your kids have not developed these skills yet! Better try for it now for the sake of your child in order to communicate in any of the means hence resulting better quality of life for them.

Here, sharing you some interesting tricks how to develop and improve joint attention and interaction which are the foundational skills for communication.

Following are the variety of activities to work on these skills ay home:

1.Toyless Games

Have you ever heard the phrase “You are your child’s best toy”? It’s true! You are! So there are so many ways to work on attention and interacting with just #YOU# and may be few things you probably have.

An important thing you have follow is using an exaggerated facial expression, an excited intonation, and wait time with expectant look to see if your child will communicate- with a sound, word, sign or a picture! And if your child does not fill in that wait time, it’s ok! Model how you want the child to respond and give them another opportunity in an interesting way by repeating it. As Repetition is a key!

Some of the toyless games which you can try such as Pee-ka-boo, Airplane (Ready, set…Up,up,up or Wiiiiii), ready set spin (either in arms or office chair), lights or fan ON & OFF game, Box Boat (making child sit in the carboard box and move it with lot of excited expression like ‘Go’, ‘fast’ etc).


Imitation is a crucial part of learning as we learn to watch and copy people around us, which is a first step in social development. Have you ever knew the fact that normally our little ones imitate facial expressions, actions with or without objects (action imitations) and intonation patterns they hear before they imitate sounds and words.

Therefore, motor imitations come before verbal or sound imitation.

Tips to encourage motor imitation are as follows:

  • Throw a ball at the wall and watch it bounce it back. Give the ball to the child.
  • Grab a spoon and bang the table.
  • Point and ‘tap tap’ on the picture.
  • Sing rhymes with actions
  • Play knock-knock on the door

Tips to encourage Sound imitations: 

  • Pair gestures with play sounds (clapping while modelling “Yay”!)
  • Say “bye-bye” to any toys while cleaning up.
  • Exaggerate vowels in any sound or word.
  • Say ‘boo’ when the ball bangs.


Singing rhymes or songs to children and using music is so beneficial for language development. The rhythm and the repetitive patterns within a song help little brains to motivate them to learn and memorize words in a fun manner.

Try these tips while using music with your little ones:

  • Pressing pause or stopping while you sing, giving a child an expectant look in order to fill in the blank with a word or at least a sound
  • Use song with motor movements as motor imitations come before verbal imitation.
  • Play songs or sing at a different speed.
  • Make your own songs based on your daily routine with kids. For example; Sid is walking wa wa walking etc.

4. Movement Play

Movement games facilitate opportunities to engage kids by working on functional core words such as GO, STOP, GIVE, NO, action words follow directions and more. Since most of our little kids are very active, motor driven and constantly move about, we can make our kids involved in movement games such as sliding, swinging, bouncing up and down on an exercise ball, jumping on a trampoline, running games, riding cycle, a tunnel and bowling

5. Cause/Effect

At first, the child needs to understand that their actions have a reaction before they can make a functional request to get what they want. Once the child learns the cause and effect of language and the power of their words, a little light bulb goes off with requesting.

Cause/ Effect toys which can be used to play with kids such as Light up toys, noise makers, pop-up toys, ball poppers and spin toys.

Don’t worry if you don’t have cause effect toys at home. Other ways through which you can do is,

-Showing your child, the water turning off and on while modelling ON/OFF.

-Ring the doorbell etc

6. Bubbles

Bubbles are an excellent way to get your child to interact and motivate to communicate! So just don’t blow them and say nothing, while blowing bubbles you can try:

  • Elicit the a /B/ or a /P/ sound for “Pop!”
  • pointing with “ Pop Pop”
  • Give an empty wand to provide an opportunity for help.
  • Modelling “more” with a sign before blowing
  • count “1,2,3 ….”…wait…then model “go”.
  • modelling “uh oh” as the bubbles disappear.

While interacting with kids using these tricks, kids will be distracted and that is ok. They ignore us sometimes. So, we have to look for the majority of responses rather than expecting anything to be 100%.

Therefore, do not fail to target these skills as it is a foundation for language development in the early stages of development.