The Attention John Jamieson programme is used at the East SILC to develop attention and listening skills, expressive communication and understanding of language. We are using the approach with learners of all ages as appropriate to their needs. Some learners may benefit from the approach being used temporarily, whereas other learners may use the approach longer term.
The approach is a visual approach to learning that uses appealing objects/motivators and activities to inspire attention of learners. The structured programme was orginally developed by Gina Davies (Speech and Language therapist) for individuals with Autism. It can also be a very successful approach for individuals without autism who benefit from visual learning and have attention, listening and communication needs. Many of our students benefitting from the programme do not have Autism.
The programme works by gaining the individuals’ interest and engagement so that they want to communicate about what they are experiencing. Through this the students develop their understanding and expressive language skills. The adult leading the session uses simple and clear language, Makaton signing, gesture, facial expression, and tone of voice to engage the learners. They learn that the experience will be fun and worth participating in. This develops trust in their communication partners through ‘shared good times’. This approach works well alongside other approaches, such as Intensive Interaction, as we use the learners’ interests and show interest in these.
Overall Aims of programme
- To anticipate shared enjoyment of an activity with staff and peers; give students something they want to communicate about.
- Develop focused attention as one of a group.
- Develop attention for following an adult-led agenda.
- To manage shifting and refocusing attention.
- Increase understanding within context (core vocabulary, concepts and phrases).
- Increase use of vocalisations and expressive language in a social context.
- Increase tolerance of other students within the group.
- Develop use of facial expressions, eye contacts, gesture, proximity, body language.
- Build on strengths of learners; visual learning, responsive to routine, repetition.
- To develop regulation and control of arousal levels.
Attention John Jamieson stages
The programme is structured to develop learners attention by gradually increasing the length of activity they are expected to do. A stage is added as the learners become familiar and confident within the routine. This allows them to experience success as they move through the programme. Initially the bucket stage may only last a few minutes. When all stages are completed together this takes approximately 20 minutes, but this may be extended as appropriate the the group.
- Stage 1- The Bucket: Group focuses attention on adult-led activity. Items of interest taken out and interacted with by lead adult. Learners learn to look, but not touch something they are motivated by.
- Stage 2- Attention Builder: Pupils develop longer and sustained attention skills. Lead adult does a sequence of activities to create exciting visual end result.
- Stage 3 - Turn-taking games: Pupils learn to shift attention by being invited for a turn in a game and then return to their seat to watch others turn. Pupils do not always get a turn so learn relevant coping strategies for this.
- Stage 4 - Independent work: Pupils focus, sustain, shift attention, transition and then refocus. Pupils have their own set of resources/equipment and take it to the table to work within the group. They then return to the circle to share their work.
For further information please visit Gina Davies pages:
- Facebook page ‘Gina Davies Autism Centre’
Here are some useful resources relating to the Attention Programme and other activities to develop attention. Some of these resources are from the Leeds NHS toolkit which can be found, along with further guidance and activities for developing communication at: www.leedscommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk