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Joint attention

Joint attention (also known as shared attention) is the process by which one alerts another to a stimulus via nonverbal means, such as gazing or pointing. For example, one person may gaze at another person, and then point to an object (e.g., a toy or a tool), and then return their gaze back to the other person. In this case, the pointing person is “initiating joint attention” by trying to get the other to look at the object. Impairment in joint attention is a core deficit in ASD. Working to improve joint attention in people with ASD, especially children, is generally considered to be an important form of treatment.