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The present research examined whether teaching children with autism to pass tasks that assess mental state understanding had any positive effects on communication. Two aspects of communication previously shown to be deficient in children with autism were considered. These are conversational ability, in particular the ability to expand on conversation, and the use of mental state terms in speech. Results showed that no discernible improvement was seen on either measure of communication following mental state teaching. Discussion centers on real versus superficial changes in understanding mental states as a result of teaching.




Hadwin, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Howlin, P., & Hill, K. (1997). Does teaching theory of mind have an effect on the ability to develop conversation in children with autism? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 27(5), 519–537. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025826009731

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