Case study assessment of theory of mind and its relation to the overall functioning of a small sample of teenage children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
The relationship between theory of mind concepts and overall functioning was assessed in three teenagers who have the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Participants completed first and second order false belief tasks, were observed in an educational setting and questionnaires regarding their strengths and difficulties were administered to their caregivers and school teachers. Caregivers also completed a parenting practices questionnaire. It was predicted that the child that was most successful at the false belief tasks would have the greatest overall daily functioning. Results showed that this was not the case, that increased social and daily functioning was not consistently linked to greater theory of mind concepts. These findings suggest that the daily accomplishments of children with ASD is not dependent on their ability to perform on theory of mind (ToM) tasks. The child's environment and experiences are explored as potential influences on their personal success.