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What exactly 'counts' as pointing?

(8 Posts)
EBDteacher Thu 18-Aug-11 18:56:30

My DS was 1 a couple of days ago.

He touches things he is looking at or interested in with the tip of his index finger- details of pictures in books, tiny things he finds on the floor, my necklace pendant etc. Is that 'pointing'?

He has never pointed at anything he can't reach with his index finger in a 'look at that Mum' type of way (prodeclarative pointing?). Does that mean technically he isn't pointing? I am a bit confused!

He does reach for things he wants that are out of reach but it seems to be more with the intention of getting it himself than drawing my attention to it so I will get it. He can follow my point well and has good 'shared attention' so I'm not worried in particular- just confused about exactly what I am looking at/ for. Any pointing experts out there?

silverfrog Thu 18-Aug-11 19:00:43

as you already know, there are many different types of pointing.

why are you worried? (in a "what would you be worried about if your ds wasn't pointing" sense, rather than a "why bother" sense. I know you said you are not particularly woried about your ds' development)

it would be useful to know, though, what is niggling for you. if it is that your ds is not isolating his finger for a point involvng distance - maybe he is a bit young yet. dd2 didn't point in that way until after 14 months, certainly.

wrt following points/shared attention - this is all good. when your ds does point to htings in a book, does he then reference back to you to see your reaction/check you are looking too etc? so not just pointing to it for his sake, but wanting to know that you have seen too?

Pagwatch Thu 18-Aug-11 19:00:44

Pointing is about trying to share attention.

It is nothing to do with the movement of the finger, it is about your child looking at something and wanting you too look at it too.

And it is about his initiating that, not about complying when you do.

Pagwatch Thu 18-Aug-11 19:01:18

Silver said it much better....

EBDteacher Thu 18-Aug-11 20:29:33

Thank you both.

I was thinking about pointing as a 'red flag' for autism. I have worked with many children diagnosed with ASD but have no experience of under 5s (apart from now DS). TBH I think I'm being a bit PFB, but did read a variety of 'early signs' websites and get myself in a tiz about DS's lack of clear 'look at this, Mum' behaviour. Of course now I'm going through all his behaviours to think of any signs of developing theory of mind!

He is very affectionate, interested in eye contact and facial expressions, seeks shared play with me, learns to do new things by imitating and initiates social play like peek-a-boo so I'm sure he's fine. It is non-the-less playing on my mind that he doesn't point and that regression into ASD tends to occur from 12 months. I think sometimes you can have too much information!

Pfriend Thu 18-Aug-11 20:37:24

Errm well my nearly one year old certainly doesn't point with his finger. He does point with his whole arm though which rather disturbingly looks like he is doing 'heil hitler'grin

silverfrog Thu 18-Aug-11 20:53:14

He sounds lovely smile. And his social communication sounds as though it is going well.

Pointing as a red flag for autism is (I believe, but a while since I was reading up on red flags) a concern if it doesn't develop by 18 months or so. Have you come across the CHAT test? that is used at 18 months, to flag up concerns, and is a nice, easy read through. (NOT suggesting you should go and find it, but since you are already thinking about these things, then it might help you?)

Initiating social play is good, as is imitating. My dd1 is autistic, and she could do neither of those things for a long time, despite being social, chatty, affectionate etc. Imitation is a big thing - it is how we all learn things, everyday.

Try not to worry - you are right that sometimes having too much informaiton can be a nightmare. But put it to the back of your mind, leave it there dormant, ready to spring into action should it be necessary.

I watched dd2 like a hawk, and when she wasn't pointing by 14 months I was concerned (she didn't, at all, not even in books etc). but it came along sometime between then and 16 months (having now looked it up in her notes!), so nicely in time for the hcps, but well after I'd developed a few (more) grey hairs grin

lingle Fri 19-Aug-11 10:12:19

Stanley Greenspan said he wanted to see this directing of an adult's attention to a specific object - by 18 months.

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