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Communication and development of theory of mind in children with SSPI (severe speech and physical impairments

Conference paper
Authors Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
Published in Paper presented at XIIth European Conference on Developmental Psychology, 24-28 August 2005, Universidad de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Communication, severe speech and physical impairment, theory of mind
Subject categories Social Sciences


Results from research on deaf children, who have acquired a sign language late in life, have revealed difficulties in the development of theory of mind, highlight-ing the role of communication in this development. From this perspective, the de-velopment of theory of mind in children with severe speech and physical impair-ments (SSPI) is most interesting. Findings from our research suggest that the children follow a normal pattern of development but with severe delay compared to children without disability. There are different possible explanations to the children’s failure to solve theory of mind-tasks that will be discussed in the pres-entation: the communicative impairment with negative influences on early social and communicative experiences; the overall dependence on others, not least for interpretation of communicative acts; low verbal competence; possible deficits in working memory and the severe motor dysfunction, prohibiting the children to move freely and interact with the physical environment

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