Theory of mind in children with severe speech and physical impairments

Res Dev Disabil. 2010 Mar-Apr;31(2):617-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2009.12.010. Epub 2010 Feb 8.


The development of a person's ability to understand other's thoughts and feelings, so-called "theory of mind" (ToM), is subject to study. Children with communicative disabilities have exhibited problems in this respect, highlighting the role of language in the development of ToM. In this study, ToM was studied in children with cerebral palsy and severe speech impairments. Two tasks, differently dependent on verbal abilities, were used. The results were compared to those of a mental age matched group. The groups differed significantly on the verbally dependent task while difference in performance did not reach significance on the less verbally dependent one. The results are discussed in terms of a delayed development of ToM in children with severe speech and physical impairments, dependent on verbal abilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication Barriers
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Language Development Disorders / psychology*
  • Language Development*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Motor Skills Disorders / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Theory of Mind*