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  • Writer's pictureChattykiddo


Here is a great definition - "social referencing is how we take nonverbal cues from others and interpret them to decide ways to act and emotions to feel" Tina K. Veale. Social referencing is the very foundation of all communication with others and it begins in infancy when nonverbal signaling is all a baby has to communicate. Furthermore, joint attention is the hallmark of social referencing and is a pretty reliable predictor of the child's future ability to use social referencing both nonverbally and in conversation with others. Joint attention, simply put, is an awareness of another person as well as an ability to attend with this other person to the same thing (be it an object, or an experience). As humans we joint-attend all the time even with strangers. The prerequisite to developing joint attention is the ability to use and shift eye-gaze to communicate "Look at that thing! Do you see what I see?". Lack of joint attention by 9 months of age is a signal that the infant has not learned to connect with other people in a social way through nonverbal signaling (eye gaze). This deficit is linked to future difficulties in developing Social Pragmatic Skills.

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