Volume 27, Issue 12 (3-2021)                   RJMS 2021, 27(12): 32-41 | Back to browse issues page

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Ahmadi M, Karami J, Eivazi S. The Effect of Teaching Communication Skills on the Rational-emotive-behavioral Therapy of Albert Ellis on Improving Autistic Children's Theory of Mind. RJMS 2021; 27 (12) :32-41
URL: http://rjms.iums.ac.ir/article-1-6011-en.html
Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran , j.karami@razi.ac.ir
Abstract:   (1990 Views)
Background & Aims: The theory of mind is the mental states, beliefs, intentions, desires, claims and knowledge of oneself and others and understanding that others have different beliefs and intentions from our beliefs and intentions. This ability consists of three levels; The first level or recognizing emotions and pretense, the second level of the theory of mind or primary misconception and the perception of misconceptions and the third level or the perception of secondary misconceptions or the perception of jokes. Having a theory of mind helps a person to attribute thoughts, desires and intentions to others and to be able to predict or describe their actions and understand their intentions. While research shows that autistic children disabilities in the theory of mind, autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by qualitative deficits in social interactions, language, communication, and stereotyped behavior such as behavioral patterns, interests, and limited activities. Studies show that children with autism spectrum disorder, compared to normal children, have a significant defect in the development of the whole theory of mind and its different levels. People with mental disabilities have difficulty explaining the intentions of others and also do not understand how their behavior affects others, understanding oneself and others is essential for effective social relationships and interpersonal interactions. Theory of mind in practice gives the children a powerful tool which helps them to explore, predict and change the behavior of others. Through the theory of mind we can interpret the mental states (beliefs, desires, imaginations, emotions, etc.) that are the cause of actions. All human beings need to communicate and relate to others. Without effective social interaction and interpersonal communication, man can not achieve the desired growth and flourishing of his personality. Interpersonal relationships occur when people interact with each other. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to investigate communication skills training on the development of theory of mind in autistic children, in order to understand the mental states of others and use it to communicate socially.
Methods: The method of the present study is quasi-experimental with a pretest-posttest design with a control group. The statistical population was all 9-12 year old male autistic students in Kermanshah. 12 students were selected by available sampling method and randomly divided into two groups of 6 experimental and control. Theory of the mind test was used as a data collection tool, which consists of 3 subscales from which a general score for the theory of mind is obtained. After performing the pre-test in the experimental and control groups, communication skills training based on Albert Ellis's rational-emotional-behavioral therapy method was performed in 13 sessions in groups in the experimental group. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics (univariate and multivariate analysis of covariance). Considering that the present research design was a quasi-experimental pre-test-post-test with a control group, the inferential statistics section includes analysis of covariance (univariate and multivariate) to test the research hypotheses.
Results: The mean of the whole theory of mind and each level of theory of mind of the subjects in the experimental group in the post-test increased compared to the pre-test. But there is not much increase in the mean of the control group after the test. The results of univariate analysis of covariance showed that there is a significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores of the whole theory of mind (P <001) and this means that the intervention (communication skills training) on the total scores of the theory of the mind of subjects in the experimental group has had a significant impact. In order to find out the difference between the mean scores of post-test levels of theory of mind in the two groups, analysis of covariance was performed. According to the calculated effect size, 0.89% of the total variances of the experimental and control groups are due to the effect of the independent variable. Also, the statistical power of the test is equal to 89%, this means that the test was able to reject the null hypothesis with a power of 89%. The results of multivariate analysis of covariance of post-test scores showed that the value of F for level one was 10/50, which is significant at level (P <0.01), for level two, it was 26/34, which is significant at level (P <0.001), for level three, it was 1/69, which is not significant. Considering the effect size, 60% of the change in level one and 79% of the change in level two and 19% of the change in level three of the theory of mind was due to the effect of independent variable (communication skills training).
Conclusion: In this study, communication skills training with Albert Ellis's intellectual-emotional-behavioral therapy, increased the ability of understanding and interpreting  the mental states and behavior of oneself and others (whole theory of mind), the ability to recognize emotions and pretense (first level of the theory of mind) and misconception (the second level of the theorie of mind) in autistic boy children aged 9-12 years. Some new theories derived from Vygotsky's socio-cultural theory emphasize the experience and interaction with others in the evolution of the theory of mind. Studies have shown that children who had the opportunity to engage in conversations about mental health performed better in the theory of mind than children who did not. It can be inferred from theories and researches that communication, interaction and social dialogue can promote the theory of mind. But communication skills training did not have a significant effect on the ability to understand secondary misconceptions (3th level of mind theory) in autistic boys aged 9-12 years. Autism causes serious damage to the functions of social cognition, especially the theory of mind, and boys are more vulnerable. The reason for the lack of progress in advanced theory of mind (joking perception) may be the limitations of autistic children in conceptual developmental ability. It seems that in order to achieve high levels of theory of mind, more cognitive and mental processes and cognitive interventions are needed with more components in mind. In general, it can be concluded that teaching these types of communication skills can be included in the treatment programs of autistic children and can be used to improve the theory of mind and its levels in autistic children.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Clinical Psychiatry

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