Carol Krakower, M.A. CCC-SLP

Brook 35 Park

2130 Highway 35, Suite 311

Sea Girt, NJ 08750

Serving Monmouth County and Ocean County

 

732.800.3001

 

Autism/Aspergers/PDD

Home > Autism/Aspergers/PDD

 

"Academically, Noah belongs in third grade.  Socially, he is lost.  Recess is the worst part of the day.  He wants so badly to have friends, but he always seems to say or do the wrong thing.  He doesn't seem to know what makes the other kids tick.  How can Noah learn this?"
 

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurobiologically-based social communication disability. Heretofore, the main approach to helping children with social communication difficulties has been what I call a “top down” approach: in this situation, do this, not that. This is helpful because children with ASD will not infer pragmatic language, it must be taught.

 

However, I do not feel that this is enough. Children with autism also show a specific deficit in understanding Theory of Mind, or the perspectives of others. I have developed a research-based therapy program outlined in my new book Improving Comprehension of Social Skills and Literature Through Theory of Mind Games (published by LinguiSystems in January 2013) that teaches children with ASD to understand the perspectives of others. This is the necessary “bottom up” approach that children need to understand the why of social interaction.

 

It is amazing to me when I first test a young child with autism and realize that this child only sees the world from his own visual perspective. He cannot assume Mommy’s perspective and realize that if Mommy is looking out the window, she is seeing something different than he is seeing sitting at the kitchen table. Of course children with autism don’t point! The child often assumes that you are seeing just what he is seeing!

 

Think about childhood games: hide-and-seek, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. What is it all about? It is about the fun most young children have when one person sees something that the other child cannot see! No wonder that children with ASD can’t play games with others! They don’t understand what the game is about.

 

Think about most literature, and in particular, children’s books. How many books are about something that the reader knows but the characters don’t know? No wonder children with ASD have difficulty understanding stories!

 

I strongly believe in teaching Theory of Mind through games and playing stories. It is remarkable to see a child start to understand, through role-playing, that maybe not everyone has his perspective. I believe that until a child is able to understand basic Theory of Mind, social interaction and stories will not make any sense to the child. It is a truly effective “bottom-up” technique.

 
Speech-Language Pathologists