Theory of Mind and Deaf Students Barriers and Solutions – Lisalee Egbert & Ashlee Trempus

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The ability to “mind read,” or having a theory of mind (ToM), is critical to how we successfully interact with individuals and groups in social environments. Deaf children in mainstream schools typically have limited access to conversations around them and thus limited awareness and opportunities to develop ToM.

This presentation will highlight how parents and educators can foster Theory of Mind development. Among other suggestions, the presentation will show video clips of individual Deaf/Hard of Hearing students’ conversational engagement with Deaf Language Models through an online platform. These video clips of different learners of various ages will provide participants with greater understanding of ToM as well as ideas for improving the Deaf learners ToM that can be included in IFSPs and IEPs.

Incidental learning, identity development, and self-advocacy will also be discussed to explore the relationship between these and ToM. This will provide participants with a useful lens for remedying Deaf students’ overall educational experience.