Thursday, February 25, 2010

Theory of Mind. Joint Attention. Intersubjectivity.

Aut-2B-Home in Carolina blogger Tammy Glaser blogged an insightful post about intersubjectivity yesterday.

She has me remembering the first time I saw the term "theory of mind" where someone defined it for me. I attended a workshop about Floortime by beloved PLAY Project expert Dr Richard Solomon, and one of the slides was about theory of mind.

I remember coming away from the presentation with the idea that "theory of mind" mysteriously comes upon most children and not on children with autism. Dr Solomon didn't give me the progression of development that explained how theory of mind (joint attention) (intersubjectivity) develops. (Maybe he did and I simply don't remember it -- I can tell you I didn't come away with any understanding of it, other than people on the autism spectrum don't acquire it.)

It wasn't until Dr Gustein lectured on the developmental levels of intersubjectivity that I realized that theory of mind doesn't simply happen or not happen -- it grows via a distinct and thoroughly documented set of stages via experience with another person, usually Mom and Dad, and yes, parents have an opportunity to go back in development and "do over" the steps and levels of intersubjectivity with a child on the autism spectrum (or Down Syndrome or other developmental delay) and see the child grow (naturally) in theory of mind.

(FYI: I attempted to provide my understanding of how intersubjectivity develops in the post I wrote about why I finally decided to homeschool.)

If you're wondering whether the "theory-of-mind" fairy is going to come upon your child w/ asd, you don't have to wonder. You are the key to the re-do.

Thanks Tammy, for the descriptive example of intersubjectivity at the post office on your blog.

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