I often have parents ask me for ideas to help their child learn to use more eye contact. I first used this trick many years ago (can’t remember how or who I learned it from or I would give them a hug and BIG thankyou!). Years later, I still use this strategy regularly with children who struggle to make eye contact.
Here’s how it works. During play choose a preferred/interesting toy (eg one with light/sound if they don’t have favourites) and hold it near your eyes. As soon as they look at the toy, give it to them. Then gradually as they get the idea of the “game” wait longer until their eyes flick across to your eyes then give them the toy. This would be the sort of activity you could do very quickly throughout the day without having to do any formal practice time.
The really beautiful thing about this trick is that it not only teaches children how to make eye contact but also that eye contact is purposeful and makes things happen in the child’s communication world. Happy eye contact everyone!