Friday, January 6, 2012

Other people have feelings?

Other people have feelings? What? One of the most difficult things to stomach when raising a child on the spectrum is the realization that your child does not care about what other people are feeling or thinking. Most days it seems there is a complete inability to look at a situation from someone else’s perspective. Theory of Mind. That is what it is folks. Most typically developing kiddos master this skill by age four or five. Rye is eight soon to be nine and he doesn’t have it. Research suggests that individuals on the autism spectrum do not employ theory of mind. I thought it would be interesting to test this out since I have a child with autism who is eight and a typically developing child that is 6. I used a version of the False Belief Test developed by Baron-Cohen in the eighties.

Wyatt, age 5
Rye, age 8

As parents we really have to focus on getting our children to understand that other people have feelings and ideas that our different from their own.  Rye definitely has a hard time with this and because he does he comes off as rude at times. I typically will say to Rye when you say or do that it makes me feel... or I will point out when I am feeling certain emotions and why I feel that way, what made me feel that way and remind him that even though he doesn't feel that way when the situation happens most people do. 

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