Theory of mind in children with cerebral palsy: The impact of limited expressive linguistic abilities

Annika Dahlgren Sandberg and SvenOlof Dahlgren

in Access to Language and Cognitive Development

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592722
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731488 | DOI:
Theory of mind in children with cerebral palsy: The impact of limited expressive linguistic abilities

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This chapter examines the effects of restricted conversation interaction on the theory of mind (ToM) of children with cerebral palsy. Research on typically developing children has found children to be competent early in life with an urge to interact and communicate. Development takes place in a complex interaction between, on the one hand, internal conditions, and biological and cognitive maturation, and, on the other hand, external factors, more specifically, the society and people around the child. Communication can be described as a co-constructive act, where intentionality and understanding of the other's thoughts and intentions are important components for success. It is characterized by reciprocity and meaning. The chapter explores the consequences for performance on ToM tasks if full participation in this intricate interaction is hindered by physical impairment or difficulty in producing speech sounds. It reviews studies indicating a delay in children with cerebral palsy and communicative disabilities that parallels the performance of deaf children from hearing families. The chapter argues that it is important to provide children with cerebral palsy and communicative problems with appropriate and sufficient communication aids early to enhance social cognitive development.

Keywords: conversation interaction; children's development; communication skills; physical impairment; communicative disability; social cognitive development

Chapter.  7400 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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