Goal:  Your child will learn to point to indicate what he or she wants.

Materials:  Desired objects (candy?), undesired objects (when ready to make choices), stickers or masking tape with red dot drawn on it.

Stimuli:  Say "________(name), point."

Step 1:  Your child will point directly to a desired object with full physical prompts.

Step 2:  Your child will point directly to a desired object with partial physical prompts.

Step 3:  Your child will point directly to a desired object with verbal prompts.

Step 4:  Repeat Steps 1-3 with the object increasingly farther away.

Step 5: Add another desired object. Your child will point to indicate which object he or she desires. Hold desired object somewhat closer to the child than other object. You may need to hold down one of the child's hands.

Step 6: Replace one object with a non-desired object. Your child will point to indicate the desired object.

This pointing program is designed to encourage your child to point to what he or she wants and can be done at any meal time.  Pointing is one of our easiest and first modes of communication and requires no eye contact.  At first, "point" will refer to your child's actually touching a dot on a clear cup. Begin by molding the child's hand to a pointing position and touching his or her finger to the dot.  Reward immediately with the reinforcer (mini-M&Ms often work well because they are eaten quickly and do not fill the child up) by dumping the reinforcer into the child's hand that just made the pointing gesture. Gradually, give less and less direction to the child's hand as pointing skill increases. Once this is mastered, we can work on a distal point, where your child will point to an item he or she cannot reach. Eventually, the dots are not needed, and the child can learn to choose between items.  You should see the child's frustration level decrease as the ability to communicate requests increases.

As your child's pointing becomes more functional and he or she has been using it to communicate for several months or more, we will expect more and more. We may then expect eye contact as well as vocalizations.

Pointing will be used to communicate his understanding of where body parts are, object identification, identification of animals, family members, letters, numbers, etc.  This is a critical communication skill in your child's learning process.

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All rights reserved. Updated November 2, 1999. Homeschooling Kids With Disabilities http://www.members.tripod.com/~Maaja/index.html