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A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus
COCHLEAR IMPLANTS AND OTHER IMPLANTABLE AUDITORY
Otorinolaringologia 2014 December;64(4):179-89
The development of theory of mind – Considerations for deaf children with cochlear implants
Sundqvist A., Heimann M.
Division of Psychology, Behavioral Sciences and Learning, Linköping, Sweden
How do young children begin to understand the thoughts of others, and why may this prove to be more difficult for deaf children? Insight into the thoughts and feelings of others has been referred to as theory of mind (ToM) and is an ability we use when interacting with others. ToM has been proposed to be contingent on the child’s early experiences of social interaction together with an early exposure to language. This framing is noteworthy because infants and children not exposed to early fluent language, such as children who are deaf and have speaking parents, will thus receive limited interactional experiences of this kind. A deaf child who receives a cochlear implant (CI) at an early age, however, will consequently have the opportunity to experience early fluent language and interaction. This paper will discuss the importance of the early social environment to achieve intersubjectivity; of the caregiver’s interaction in the form of mind-mindedness; and of ample opportunities to use the senses to understand the social world, language, and interactional practices. ToM abilities are, for example, demonstrated in the ability to understand the intentions and knowledge of others and when a child begins to understand the desires, beliefs, and emotions of others. Through social learning and experiencing situations with all of the senses, a child will form theories about the social world and about the minds of people in that world.