Best Practices for Teaching Joint Attention: A Systematic Review of the Intervention Literature

Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

White, P. J., O'Reilly, M., et al. (2011).

Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(4), 1283-1295.

This systematic review investigates the effect of interventions on joint attention in individuals on the autism spectrum.

Not stated

Articles published in peer-reviewed journals before 2010

Experimental study designs; quasi-experimental study designs; single subject research study designs (excluding case study designs)


"Developmental strategies were most often used in conjunction with behavioral strategies.... Preferred or ritualistic items, task interspersal, prompting hierarchies, shaping and fading, and time delay were behavioral components of many successful interventions.... [Additionally] reinforcement, a behavioral strategy, was used in almost all successful interventions" (p. 1292).

"Summary of these studies found that most interventions directly targeted joint attention skills and others measured joint attention as collateral outcomes. The vast majority, across both categories (direct and collateral), reported positive results" (p. 1291).

"The results of these studies suggest that using play as a context, and training with natural communication partners may benefit generalization" (p. 1283).