Context: The development of the ability to take the perspective of others is an important developmental milestone. There is growing evidence that language facilitates the development of children’s explicit perspective taking skills. However, there is a dearth of research investigating the development of perspective taking skills in children with specific language impairment.
Objective: The present study sought to investigate the development of explicit perspective taking skills in children with specific language impairment.
Participants: A group of 30 children with specific language impairment (M age = 63.0 months, SD = 9.0 months) participated in the study along with a group of 30 typically developing children matched for non-verbal ability, gender, and age. Main outcome measures A range of theory of mind, visual perspective taking and emotional perspective taking tasks were used.
Results: The findings of the current study are the first to indicate that the mastery of diverse desires, low verbal false belief, level 1 and ‘level 3’ visual perspective taking, and emotional perspective taking is delayed in children with specific language impairment.
Conclusions: The current results indicate delayed development of a broad range of explicit perspective taking skills in children with specific language impairment. Findings also provide further support for the importance of language acquisition for theory of mind development and add to the evidence that language facilitates the development of visual perspective taking and emotional perspective taking skills.
Dr. Brad Farrant
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