Theory of mind ability in children with specific language impairment
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Whilst evidence of theory of mind impairments in children with autism is well established, possible impairments in children with language disorder have only recently been investigated. Children with specific language impairment aged between eight and 12 years were matched by age and gender to high functioning children with autism and normally developing peers. The theory of mind abilities of the groups were compared using the strange stories task. Both the children with specific language impairment and the children with autism gave fewer correct mental state answers than normally developing children, but whereas the children with autism gave more inappropriate mental state answers than the children who were developing normally, the children who were developing normally and the children with language disorders did not differ in this respect. These findings are discussed within the context of theory of mind issues in autism and the classification of language disorders. © Arnold 2004.