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Richmond Hill School


At Richmond Hill we grow independence, build communication and believe you can achieve your personal goals.

Attention Skills Rationale

To extend the ability to attend to stimuli and activities.


Areas of learning:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Communication and interaction
  • Social, emotional and behavioural.


Learning opportunities:

  1. Engaging attention

  2. Improving joint attention

  3. Develop shared enjoyment in group activities

  4. Increasing attention in adult-led activities

  5. Encouraging spontaneous interaction in a natural group setting

  6. Increasing non-verbal and verbal communication through commenting

  7. Building a wealth and depth of vocabulary

  8. Have fun!


The stages:

Stage 1 – Bucket/Bin

A bucket is filled with visually engaging objects and toys, aiming to gain the shared attention of the group. The adult leader shows each item to the group and uses simple repetitive vocabulary to comment on the various objects. The lead adult can react to noises and comments from the children. All other adults must remain silent.


Stage 2 – The attention builder

Visually stimulating activities are shown to the group by the adult leader, aiming to sustain attention for a longer period. The activities are fun, visually engaging and can often involve delightful mess!


Stage 3 – Turn taking and re-engaging attention

The adult leader demonstrates a simple activity, often modelled with another adult in the group. Some children are then invited to have a turn but only if they are comfortable to do so. Not every child in the group will get a turn, which then teaches important emotional regulation skills, as well as the essential skills of waiting, turn-taking and learning through modelling.

Stage 4 – Shifting and re-engaging attention

Stage 4 aims to develop the skill of engaging and shifting attention. The adult leader demonstrates a simple creative task, and then gives each child an individual kit to copy the task. The children take their kits to a table, complete the task independently, and then everyone returns to the group to show their completed tasks.


More complex skills can be introduced as confidence and social skills develop e.g. sharing materials, working with a partner, problem solving.


Attention Autism principles can then be generalised to curriculum activities (e.g. literacy and numeracy) to facilitate learning and skill development.



To find out more about Attention Skills visit Gina Davies website here. 

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