Author(s)

Tziona Twersky

Date Approved

7-11-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Special Education

Department

Language, Literacy, and Special Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kuder, S. Jay

Subject(s)

Social skills--Study and teaching;Children with disabilities

Disciplines

Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether, by developing skill in understanding theory of mind skills as well as understanding how perspectives are formed, students would be able to identify more than one possible perspective in a variety of situations. The goal was for them to accept that other peoples' intent may be different from their interpretation of intent. Students were guided through a thorough understanding of the skills involved and the many ways in which the concepts impact interaction. They were taught how the neurotypical population interprets interactions. Skills were instructed individually and then combined with other skills to form the broader understanding of what comprises socialization. Social stories with thought bubbles, role-playing, peer partners and coaching where utilized to help students acquire understanding and the ability to apply skills. These structures helped this researcher's students to make progress in learning the thinking process behind social interaction. Students were evaluated and parents assessed their children's abilities prior to and after therapy. Students demonstrated understanding of concepts by identifying multiple possible intents for each individual in the same scenario when presented with five videos to evaluate. The study utilized a single subject AB design. The results of this research suggest that by utilizing these methods students increased their theory of mind and perspective taking skills. The results demonstrate that these skills can be instructed. Thinking of these deficits as skills that can be instructed instead of considering them acting out, rudeness, unreasonableness, or deliberate acts of carelessness of others' feeling can change how responses occur to these behaviors and empower teachers, parents, and therapists to work on helping the student acquire skills.

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