Theory of Mind

(understanding your own beliefs/desires/intentions and the knowledge and understanding that others have beliefs/desires/intentions and perspectives that are different to our own)

May appear to/or lack empathy.

 

  1. Discuss what others may be thinking and feeling.

  2. Interpret what is happening in situations including the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  3. Think out loud, this may help them to understand how you may be feeling.

 

Difficulty understanding the behaviour of others.

 

  1. Discuss what others may be thinking and feeling.

  2. Interpret what is happening in situations including the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  3. Think out loud, this may help them to understand how you may be feeling.

 

Difficulty understanding the intentions of others.

 

  1. Discuss what others may be thinking and feeling.

  2. Interpret what is happening in situations including the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  3. Think out loud, this may help them to understand how you may be feeling.

  4. Clarify hidden meanings and interpret what is happening in a situation.  This may include explaining thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  5. A Social Skills group can help teach understanding of other people thoughts, feelings and perspectives.

  6. A Social Skills group can help teach understanding of emotions (body language, facial expressions, anger control and self regulation).

 

Difficulty predicting what someone may do next or what may happen next.

 

  1. Discuss what others may be thinking and feeling.

  2. Interpret what is happening in situations including the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  3. Clarify hidden meanings and interpret what is happening in a situation.  This may include explaining thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  4. A Social Skills group can help teach understanding of other people thoughts, feelings and perspectives.

  5. A Social Skills group can help teach understanding of emotions (body language, facial expressions, anger control and self regulation).

 

May struggle with social rules and what to do in various situations.

 

  1. Explain social rules and expectations in different situations.

  2. A Social Skills group can help teach social rules and expectations.

  3. Social Stories™ – Use these to show social rules and expectations in different situations.

  4. If the say/do something inappropriate, give an explanation of why is isn’t appropriate and follow up later if more information is needed.

 

May struggle to understand that social rules may change from situation to situation.

 

  1. Explain social rules and expectations (and when they might not apply) in different situations.

  2. A Social Skills group can help teach social rules and expectations (and when they might not apply).

  3. Social Stories™ – Use these to show social rules and expectations in different situations.

 

May feel anxious in unfamiliar places or around unfamiliar people as they struggle to make sense of new people.

 

  1. If they are going somewhere new, show pictures, videos or visit beforehand so they are more familiar with the environment.

  2. Show photos of a new person.

  3. If they are meeting unfamiliar people it may be helpful to build up the time spent around them.  Start off with a few minutes and build this up over time.

  4. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm.  Re-direct to a calming activity or use coping skills.

 

Feel comfortable around familiar predictable people as they may be able to read them more easily.

 

  1. If they are meeting unfamiliar people it may be helpful to build up the time spent around them.  Start off with a few minutes and build this up over time. 

 

Difficulty understanding their own and others emotions.

 

  1. A Social Skills group can help teach understanding of emotions (body language, facial expressions, anger control and self regulation).

  2. Practice understanding emotions with Emotion Cards Matching Games.

  3. Clarify hidden meanings and interpret what is happening in a situation.  This may include explaining thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others.

  4. Use Social Stories™ that describe a specific social situation.  You can talk through how each person may be feeling in the situation, this may include role play.

  5. See Emotions in Anxiety section for advice.

Contact us:
SHINE for Autism is a registered CIO - Charity number 1185018
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SHINE for Autism

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