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Last Updated on May 4, 2022 by Steph Reed

Attention Autism

After using the idea of an ‘attention bucket’, I looked further into the Attention Autism approach and found this inspiring video of a talk by the founder, Gina Davies.

The Attention Autism approach focuses on developing attention and listening skills and giving the children “an irresistible invitation to learn”.

'Attention Bucket'

An ‘attention bucket’ is a bucket full of motivating and exciting toys and gadgets which will be of high interest to the children. Gina suggests that the adult in front of the children with the attention bucket must be the most interesting thing in the room so everything else must be out of sight. I am currently thinking of new toys and gadgets to put into my attention bucket but this will depend on my new class. At the moment I have wind up moving toys, light up toys, a spinning top, toys that make noises and toys with balloons (e.g. balloon cars). Here are some of the items in my bucket:

The adult with the attention bucket demonstrates one toy at a time in front of the children, for example, winding up a toy snake and then watching the snake move. The reward must be intrinsic to the activity – the enjoyment of watching the snake.  

If a child gets up out of their seat, they are gently and non verbally guided back. This is to encourage attention and listening skills. Gina suggests using 3 toys in each short session. 

With my last class I usually had an attention bucket session once every morning and once every afternoon. Attention bucket activities are also good to use to refocus the group.

Here are some of my favourite Attention Bucket resources

I have written more about the Attention Autism approach in the post: Attention Autism stage 1: attention bucket video and comments from creator Gina Davies

There is a lot of great information on Gina Davies website: Attention Autism

Please feel free to share your resource ideas for the ‘attention bucket’ in the comments below!

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7 Comments

Amelia · November 4, 2014 at 1:47 am

I have been taught that if you are not interesting as a teacher, you are not going to grab your students attention. After watching this video, it was even more evident to me that you as a teacher must be both engaging and interesting….one more thing on the to do list! I found the speaker in this video to be very knowledgeable on the topic of keeping your students engaged. I completely agree that when you aren’t interesting students are going to be totally distracted and not involved in the lesson. I love the idea of the attention bucket and the idea of using it at least 2 times a day. but, as it was stated, the reward must be intrinsic for the student to get anything out of it.

learning toys for toddlers · June 8, 2018 at 7:14 am

Awesome post ! Great tips provide on educational toys list. Thanks some help for sharing this! I love finding toys that are educational as well as fun!

Yanci · May 20, 2020 at 9:22 pm

Where did you purchase your bucket?

manhwaland · September 1, 2021 at 8:11 am

I really like and appreciate your blog.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

Emily Davies · October 25, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Hi I have been doing the attention bucket with my son (2), he runs at me and jumps on my lap to look at the toys from the bucket. How should I deal with this? He doesn’t have any understanding so asking him to sit down and look isn’t an option. Thanks

Steph Reed · October 27, 2021 at 11:47 am

It is definitely very challenging if you are the only person. It can be very helpful if someone else is able to model sitting and looking at you at the bucket, next to your son, but of course this can’t always happen. Firstly, I’m sure you already do, but make sure there are lots of times where you are playing with your son in an interactive, hands-on way, aside from bucket time, and bucket time is saved just for looking. If he runs at you or the item, just quickly put the lid back on the bucket (keep it close to you) and non verbally move him back to a cushion or wherever he is sitting. This is to show him what he needs to do. Good luck

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