Can a 5 yr old with AS answer 2nd order theory of mind ?

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cvam
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11 Jan 2011, 10:39 pm

Hi,

I tried a 2nd order "theory of mind" question on my recently diagnosed 5yr old (Aspergers). He answered it correctly. They say that it is a 6 year old NT skill. Has anyone else's 5/6 yr old kid with AS got the answer right for a 2nd order TOM scenario? Question is, can a 5 yr old with AS answer it correctly?

2nd order theory of mind:

Tom and Sam go to the zoo. Sam walks up to the balloon man and asks for one. Sam realizes he forgot to get money and the balloon man says that he will be waiting at the spot. Sam goes home to get the money while Tom waits and after waiting a bit the balloon man tells Tom that business is slow and that he is going to the fairgrounds. The balloon man passes Sam's house on the way to the fairgrounds and they spot each other and the balloonman tells Sam that he will be at the fairground instead. Sam gets the money and heads out to the fairgrounds. Later Tom comes over to Sam's house and Sam's mom says that Sam has gone to get a balloon. Tom runs out looking for Sam

Q where will Tom look for Sam and why? (Answer below)
















A -->in the zoo and because thats where Sam said he'd return/Tom will look in zoo because he doesn't know Sam and balloonman have spoken again or Tom doesn't know Sam knows that balloon man has moved



jamesongerbil
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11 Jan 2011, 10:50 pm

Pwned



cvam
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11 Jan 2011, 10:56 pm

I didn't get that James...and that is not because I am NT



willaful
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12 Jan 2011, 12:02 am

I don't think you can draw any conclusion based on one answer to one question. He may not have followed the story (I had some trouble following it) and just answered the first thing that came to mind, last thing he remembered hearing, whatever.


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buryuntime
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12 Jan 2011, 12:20 am

Well, I answered it wrong. Given enough analysis and time I think I would have answered it right however. I think the main obstacle is keeping track of lots of information and different people.



Chronos
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12 Jan 2011, 12:51 am

cvam wrote:
Hi,

I tried a 2nd order "theory of mind" question on my recently diagnosed 5yr old (Aspergers). He answered it correctly. They say that it is a 6 year old NT skill. Has anyone else's 5/6 yr old kid with AS got the answer right for a 2nd order TOM scenario? Question is, can a 5 yr old with AS answer it correctly?

2nd order theory of mind:

Tom and Sam go to the zoo. Sam walks up to the balloon man and asks for one. Sam realizes he forgot to get money and the balloon man says that he will be waiting at the spot. Sam goes home to get the money while Tom waits and after waiting a bit the balloon man tells Tom that business is slow and that he is going to the fairgrounds. The balloon man passes Sam's house on the way to the fairgrounds and they spot each other and the balloonman tells Sam that he will be at the fairground instead. Sam gets the money and heads out to the fairgrounds. Later Tom comes over to Sam's house and Sam's mom says that Sam has gone to get a balloon. Tom runs out looking for Sam

Q where will Tom look for Sam and why? (Answer below)
















A -->in the zoo and because thats where Sam said he'd return/Tom will look in zoo because he doesn't know Sam and balloonman have spoken again or Tom doesn't know Sam knows that balloon man has moved


Shouldn't Sam's mother have told Tom where Sam went?



DandelionFireworks
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12 Jan 2011, 1:15 am

This thing tied my brain in knots and I could barely keep track of who knew what. With a flowchart I could've done better, but I couldn't hold it all in my head. So I was like "Tom knows Sam is going where the balloons are," I had to reread the problem to ascertain whether or not Tom knew where the balloons were, and determined that since he did, he'd go find the balloon man to inquire after Sam.

Clearly, I fail at this.

All of my arguments about why I think the Sally-Anne Test is stupid apply here. Never thought I'd have to defend my OWN failure, though. :?


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buryuntime
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12 Jan 2011, 1:55 am

I reread it again, keeping track of the information, and I still failed it. I don't think a 6 year old could pass this. Do they really administer this?



liloleme
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12 Jan 2011, 6:51 am

I always hated story problems :P



Tempus
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12 Jan 2011, 12:08 pm

I got it right on second reading before scrolling down to see I was correct, but this is very very confusing and there are lots of reasons grown ups could get this wrong, never mind little kids, NT or not. Following who's who is tricky. It takes a lot of concentration to follow it.



angelbear
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12 Jan 2011, 2:28 pm

I agree. I had trouble following it, and I am an NT adult.



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12 Jan 2011, 5:13 pm

I also had a hard time following it and had to read it over and over and keep track of the names and the facts and I got the answer wrong. I felt pretty dumb for it after reading the answer. Now I feel so much better after reading the last two responses.


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momsparky
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12 Jan 2011, 6:15 pm

Are you really asking if they diagnosed your son correctly because he can answer this problem? One of the tricky things about AS kids is that they can do things that look like good social skills, and look like good theory of mind, but which are actually complex recall/execution/amalgamation of scripts or good logical thinking.

I can see where an Aspie who has a good memory and good math skills might be able to treat this question like it's a chess game and not like it's a social interaction; so they might answer the question correctly but wouldn't make the corresponding correct choice in real life. Does your child ever get frustrated with you when he tries to talk about something you didn't see? Does he gloss over or skip important information? That's more of an indicator of a TOM difficulty.

It was terribly difficult for us to understand our son because he is really good at coming up with the right thing to say; it seems like intuition - but after watching his speech evaluation, I realized: he's got thousands, maybe millions of pre-scripted responses in there. His mind works more like that old-fashioned computer game, DOCTOR: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA He is so good at it that he's successfully fooled any number of social workers and psychologists - it wasn't until we got him in front of someone who specializes in autism that they caught on to the fact that he was just responding by rote and not understanding what was going on with the interaction (or, more importantly, why the interaction might suddenly go south.)



DandelionFireworks
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13 Jan 2011, 12:54 am

Dude, "theory of mind" is a stupid concept anyway. It's not deficient in autistics for the same reason cyanosis isn't indicative of phlogiston deficiency.


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Zur-Darkstar
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13 Jan 2011, 1:57 am

Is it bad if I got this wrong at age 30? Didn't balloon man tell Tom he was going to the fairgrounds so Tom knew balloon guy would be there and not the zoo.

Oh, wait, now I see, as I type this I realize that Tom wouldn't know that Sam talked to the balloon man so he would think that Sam thought the balloon man was at the zoo, so he'd go there. These kinds of problems give me headaches. I really had to break it down slowly and still ended up getting it wrong and not realizing why until I was halfway through this post.

Can NTs really do these problems easily, or is it just as confusing for you guys?

EDIT: To momsparky. Your kid sounds like me. I'm consciously aware of much my own social scripting because much of it was done semi-consciously in the first place. What I didn't have instinctively, I learned by trial and error, and an excellent memory. Be careful as he gets to teenage years. If he's like me, he'll figure out he can use his scripts and practiced routines to manipulate people in various ways. I did this a lot when I just didn't want to deal with people. Like a dog, I toss the ball and they run off after it.



cvam
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13 Jan 2011, 7:34 am

My 5 yr old answered this correctly and since he did it within 2 seconds, it didn't look like a logically arrived response.. I play acted the scenario with action figures so there were a lot fewer words said.

Based on what I read on this board, the aspie traits are accentutated with age, and we will know in due course of time. My dilemma is that I have to change immediate plans radically depending on whether the dx is accurate.