Childhood Trauma and Theory of Mind Deficits
Theory of mind is the ability to not only 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.
- Define ToM and learn about its building blocks and various dimensions.
- Identify red flag indicators, warning signs, and consequences of ToM deficits.
- Recognize how toxic stress, adversity, and complex trauma can impede ToM development.
- List ways to promote and develop ToM abilities in younger individuals exposed to trauma.
- Identify ToM benefits.
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.
Course Instructor: Jerrod Brown, PhD
Learning Assessment: Objective post-test
Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Sensational Brain LLC is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Course approval ID# 02408. This distance-learning, independent format is offered at 0.3 CEUs, Intermediate Level, OT Service Delivery. AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.
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