Summary of studies teaching Theory of Mind (ToM) to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC)

Authors Age and VMA ToM Tasks Teaching Time Pre & Post tasks Main Findings
Ozonoff & Miller (1995) Teaching group (children with ASC): N = 5; mean age = 13.8; range = 13.5–14.0; mean VIQ = 88; range = 74–99.Typically developing children: N = 4; mean age = 13.6; range = 11.3–16.2; mean VIQ = 94; range = 66–104. (i) Seeing leads to knowing; first, second and third order ToM. Teaching involved the use of general principles.(ii) Social skills training: role play and video tapes, focusing on interaction/ conversational skills including reading expressions, games and parties. 14 × 90 minute sessions.No follow-up. (i) First, second and third order ToM tasks.(ii) Parent and teacher report Socials Skills Rating System. (i) 4/5 children passed more ToM tasks at post- compared with pre-test (compared to 1/4 in the control group).(ii) There was no change in parent/ teacher social skills rating from pre- to post-test.
Hadwin, Baron-Cohen, Howlin & Hill (1996, 1997) N = 30 children with ASC in three teaching groups: mean age = 9.2; age range = 4.4–13.7; mean VMA (receptive grammar) = 5.2; range = 3.03–9.0. (i) Play group: toy sets were used to encourage play through five levels from sensorimotor to pretend play.(ii) Emotion group: picture-based teaching in five levels from facial recognition to belief-based emotion.(iii) Belief group: picture- and doll-based teaching ...

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