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Theory of mind in Children with Severe Speech and Physical Impairment (SSPI): A longitudinal study

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Falkman
Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
Erland Hjelmquist
Published in International journal of disability, development and education
Volume 52
Issue 2
Pages 139-157
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 139-157
Language en
Keywords Cerebral palsy, development, longitudinal, physical impairment, speech impairment, theory of mind
Subject categories Psychology


Six children with cerebral palsy and severe speech impairment took part in a 2-phase longitudinal study of development of social cognition. Data was collected on two occasions. The children ranged in age from 5 to 7-years-old at data collection Time 1 and from 9 to 11-years-old at data collection Time 2. Using a model of normal development of theory of mind (ToM) suggested by Gopnik and Slaughter (1991), the children were tested on a number of tasks requiring ToM. The find-ings suggest that the speech-impaired children follow a normal pattern of devel-opment, but with a severe delay compared with children without disability. The results are discussed in relation to problems in early social and communicative experience for the group of children with cerebral palsy and severe speech im-pairment.

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