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Theory of Mind for Children with Autism Part 2: Clinical Application

presented by Tiffany Hutchins, Ph.D. and Patricia A. Prelock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Tiffany Hutchins & Patricia A. Prelock receive compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.


Non-Financial: Tiffany Hutchins & Patricia A. Prelock have no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Accreditation Check:
This is Part Two of a two part series on the Theory of Mind Assessment for Children. Please watch Part One before watching this course. Theory of mind is often considered one of the core areas of deficit for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We do have, however, content valid tools that help us understand areas of relative strength and challenge for children with ASD across the many dimensions of theory of mind? This course describes theory of mind and its implications for children with ASD, highlights the challenges in current assessment approaches and offers an innovative approach to theory of mind assessment that is both content valid and easy to use. Further, the presenters link assessment to intervention, demonstrating a profile approach to understanding theory of mind in individual children with ASD. Case examples are presented that link assessment to intervention targets.

Meet Your Instructors

Tiffany Hutchins, Ph.D.

Tiffany L. Hutchins is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Vermont. She earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience in experimental psychology and communication sciences and disorders at the University of South Florida in 2002. Dr. Hutchins’ research focuses on social cognition in typical and atypical…

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Patricia A. Prelock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

Patricia Prelock, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, is Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders, and Professor of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Dr. Prelock coordinates parent training programs designed for caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders and has been awarded more than…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Theory of Mind Inventory-2 Clinical Application-Building a ToM Profile

The ToMI-2 can be used to identify specific challenge areas that can be targeted for intervention but identifying challenge areas is only the first step in treatment target selection. A critical second step is to determine treatment targets that are also developmentally appropriate. The ToMI-2 is a developmentally-sequenced broadband measure of ToM, and it generates an analysis for each individual that is rooted in an empirically-driven understanding of ToM development. In this section of the presentation, a specific case study will be used to walk through the interpretation of the ToMI-2, demonstrating the child’s profile of relative strengths and challenges and identifying appropriate treatment targets.

2. Theory of Mind Inventory-2 Clinical Application-Four Case Examples

Using our descriptive-developmental approach to assessment and intervention, case examples will be presented for four children (ages 6, 10, 13, & 17) with ASD with varying ToM abilities to demonstrate the process for building profiles of relative strengths and challenges. The individual reports for each child will be reviewed to demonstrate the process for identifying possible areas of intervention. Using a descriptive-developmental approach, the ToMI-2 can support a clinician’s understanding of ToM progression and identification of treatment priorities to facilitate immediate and long-term goal setting.

3. Theory of Mind Inventory-2: Parent Interview-Establishing Priorities for Intervention

In this part of the presentation, we will be interviewing a father of a 6-year-old boy with ASD who completed the ToMI-2. We will use a parent questionnaire we developed to examine possible targets for intervention and walk through the questionnaire with the father to help determine the priorities for intervention.

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