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Childhood Trauma and Theory of Mind Deficits

Webinar Length (Hours):



Jerrod Brown, PhD


Childhood Trauma and Theory of Mind Deficits

Theory of mind is the ability not only to recognize and comprehend the mental states of oneself and others but also to recognize that mental states can vary among individuals. These aspects of ToM are the building blocks of human interaction, enabling an individual to recognize, comprehend, and predict thought processes and actions of others. Deficits in ToM have been linked to poor social skills, language expression, and emotion recognition. ToM capabilities are impeded by exposure to various forms of childhood trauma. This 3-hour training examines the impacts of toxic stress, adversity, and complex trauma on ToM abilities in children and adolescents. The presenter identifies the underlying causes and neurobiopsychosocial factors associated with poor ToM along with its reciprocal relationship with attachment formation, language development, emotional intelligence, and executive function. Participants become familiar with these topics: joint attention, mentalization, meta-cognition, mind-mindedness, mindreading, perspective-taking, pretend play, social cognition, and social referencing. A bonus section of this training examines ToM deficits among children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Other components of this training review implications for the screening and intervention of ToM problems in younger individuals impacted by trauma. Empirically-based research findings and case studies are emphasized throughout.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define ToM and learn about its building blocks and various dimensions.
  2. Identify red flag indicators, warning signs, and consequences of ToM deficits.
  3. Recognize how toxic stress, adversity, and complex trauma can impede ToM development.
  4. List ways to promote and develop ToM abilities in younger individuals exposed to trauma.
  5. Identify ToM benefits.

Course Information

  • Target Audience: intermediate- to advanced-level OTs, COTAs, and other professionals
    Note: While many professionals may benefit from the course content, we can only guarantee acceptance of continuing education credit as described in the following CEU section.
  • View Agenda
  • Course Instructor: Jerrod Brown, PhD
  • CE Broker course code: 20-841693

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

AOTA-Approved Provider Program Sensational Brain LLC is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. PD activity ID# 02408. This distance-learning, independent format is offered at 0.3 CEUs, Intermediate Level, OT Service Delivery. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.

Photo of Jerrod Brown, PhD, Sensational Brain Presenter

Jerrod Brown, PhD, is a professor, trainer, researcher, and consultant with multiple years of experience teaching collegiate courses. He is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today. Jerrod has also provided consultation services to a number of caregivers, professionals, and organizations on topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorder; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; confabulation, suggestibility, trauma, and other life adversities; traumatic brain injury; and youth firesetting. He has completed four separate master’s degree programs and holds graduate certificates in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Other Health Disabilities, and Traumatic-Brain Injuries. Jerrod has also conducted over 200 workshops, webinars, and on-demand trainings for various organizations and professional and student audiences. In 2021, Jerrod completed a post-doctoral certificate in Leadership and Organizational Strategy from Walden University and a Professional Certificate in Forensic Psychology from San Diego State University Global Campus. Currently, He is pursuing a graduate certificate in Neuropsychology from Ball State University with an anticipated date of graduation of fall 2022. Jerrod has published several articles and book chapters and recently co-edited Forensic Mental Health: A Source Guide for Professionals (Brown & Weinkauf, 2018) with Erv Weinkauf, MA. Jerrod is also regularly featured on several national and international podcast programs.


  • Financial: Jerrod Brown receives a speaking fee from Sensational Brain LLC. He is compensated for his position as CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies and receives royalties as a co-editor of Forensic Mental Health: A Source Guide for Professionals.
  • Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

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