Relationship Development

Social referencing is one of the three core challenges identified in individuals diagnosed with autism and directly influences the other two core challenges, namely social communication and self-regulation.  We view social referencing as a natural instinct that has been impaired or interfered with, at some stage of development in the person with autism or related challenges.  Through the use of specialized play skills, we seek to awaken this instinct while at the same time attempting to bring the body and brain back into healthy balance via nutritional strategies and the HANDLE® neurodevelopmental approach

Social referencing is a foundational skill to that of joint attention, defined as the ability to “coordinate attention between interactive social partners with respect to objects or events in order to share an awareness of the objects or events” (Mundy et al., 1986, p. 657)

Social referencing refers to the process wherein infants use the affective displays of an adult to regulate their behaviors toward environmental objects, persons and situations. Social referencing represents one of the major mechanisms by which infants come to understand the world around them.” -Matthew J. Hertenstein, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, USA

Learn to:

  • Support and build upon your child’s social referencing skills (ability to notice, watch, interpret and act upon the verbal and nonverbal communication of others) to help your child learn to think for him or herself, develop social communication and the ability to self-regulate in all environments.
  • Understand and communicate better with your child in order to build meaningful relationships.
  • Use specialized play skills to support interaction and communication.
  • Support your child’s learning, processing, thinking, doing, expressing and being in the family, larger community and world.
  • Improve joint attention skills, necessary for expressive and receptive language acquisition as well as attending to, learning from and relating to, others.
  • Guide and support your child’s interactions and peer play opportunities.
  • Address and prevent behavioral challenges.
  • Improve daily living skills.
  • Reduce stress and more.

“Joint attention has been found to be a good predictor of both concurrent and future language skills in children with autism…joint attention skills were concurrently associated with language ability…and predicted long term gains in expressive language ability for the children with autism.”

-Dawson et al 2004 DevPsychology

Relationship Development

A developmental model of autistic pathology posits that early impairments in social attention deprive the child with autism of social information input during infancy and preschool development and that this deprivation further disrupts normal brain and behavioral development (Mundy & Neal, 2001).

Relationship Development

Helping children and parents connect in meaningful ways and improving quality of life for ALL family members.