User:Teromakotero/Autism/Theory of Mind

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 Theory of Mind

Ability to understand other people's different perspectives are commonly known as Theory of Mind, and this ability typically occurs in normally developed children, about one and half to two years old (Schreibman 2005, 111). Theory of mind became more widely known in connection with autism through Uta Frith’s 1989 edition of the book "Autism - Explaining the Enigma". Although it has been described by scientists around the world, it has been, however, mostly a British phenomenon in therapeutic and rehabilitation debate. Theory of Mind is originally a concept from cognitive psychology, in which i.a. Ulric Neisser has referred. (Timonen 2009, 360-362.)

Theory of Mind explain the autistic person's behavior by the fact that they have not developed the ability to understand another human being and his mental movements. Autistic person's activities may seem selfish, but according to the Theory of Mind, it is rather a cognitive deficiency, inability to stand in other people's shoes and understand the situations through other than himself. This deficiency can be relieved by teaching and learning. This deficiency can be relieved by teaching and learning. Learning social skills is more difficult than, for example, learning to put the clothes on, in which an autistic person may take a very long time and several hundred repetitions. Learning social skills is a slow and long process, but it will allow autistic individuals to learn social skills. (Kerola & Kujanpää 2009, 39-42.)

The inability to take another person's position associated with Theory of mind, may relate in particular to the autistic spectrum. Mentally disabled children have passed the tests of the Theory of Mind as easily as normally developed children. Thus, cognitive disabilities per se does not explain deficiencies in the Theory of Mind. The fact that autistic children have difficulties understanding other people's perspectives, intentions, beliefs and knowledge may explain why they seem to understand so little on their own social environment. (Schreibman 2005, 112.)

Mind theory can be used to provide a very convenient explanation for many social, linguistic, and play-related deficiencies that occur with autistic children, but it does not provide a basis for other characteristics, such as stereotyped behavior, specialized skills, good external memory or a compulsive need to maintain habits and rituals. Autistic people’s problems identified in the Theory of Mind tasks may also be due to linguistic deficiencies and shortcomings of these linguistic determine how people understand the tasks of the Theory of Mind. (Schreibman 2005, 116-117.)