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Digital Recording

Theory of Mind: Therapeutic Implications for Clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASDCS
1 Hour 31 Minutes
Audio and Video
Apr 23, 2021
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Digital Recording
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Because individuals on the autism spectrum have Theory of Mind (ToM) deficits, they struggle with pragmatic interaction skills, organized and coherent conversations, engaging in appropriate turn-taking, and inferring what others might do, think and feel. To address their social/communication deficits clinicians must discern their ToM abilities.

Join internationally renowned expert Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP, as she guides you through: 

  • Current research on neural bases for emotional understanding and theory of mind  
  • Developmental stages of theory of mind from infancy through adolescence 
  • Assessment and intervention implications for ToM deficits and how to intervene with infants through school-age children 

Given the role of Theory of Mind (ToM) in social and academic functioning in persons with autism and the rapid increase in our understanding of the neurological and environmental factors that contribute to ToM, it is important that we recognize delays and deficits in ToM.




This online program is worth 1.75 hours CPD.



Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASDCS's Profile

Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASDCS Related seminars and products

Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASDCS, is an internationally-renowned expert on play assessment and development in children. She is the developer of the renowned Westby Symbolic Play Scale, a research-based scale used to assess children's social and play skills. Dr. Westby has written and implemented projects to support personnel preparation, clinical service, and research, including Project PLAY (Play and Language Attunement in Young Children), that trains caregivers to increase the development of play, theory of mind, and language.

Dr. Westby is a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), is Board-Certified in Child Language and Literacy Disorders, and has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Geneva College and the University of Iowa's Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the ASHA Award for Contributions to Multicultural Affairs, the Honors of ASHA, and the Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award.

Dr. Westby has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics including play, autobiographical memory, theory of mind, language-literacy relationships, narrative/expository development and facilitation, adverse childhood experiences, screen time, trauma, metacognition/executive function, and assessment and intervention with culturally/linguistically diverse populations. She has consulted with the New Mexico Preschool for the Deaf, which employs a play-based curriculum.

Dr. Westby has been a visiting professor at Flinders University in South Australia where she worked on a language/literacy curriculum, and at Brigham Young University where she consulted on SEEL, a systematic and engaging emergent literacy program that employs playful practice. She is a consultant for Bilingual Multicultural Services in Albuquerque, NM and holds an affiliated appointment in communication disorders at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. Dr. Westby is certified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS).


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Carol Westby has employment relationships with Brigham Young University and Bilingual Multicultural Services. She receives royalties as a published author. Carol Westby receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Carol Westby is a member of American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders.


  1. Utilize current research on neural bases for emotional understanding and Theory of Mind to inform intervention.
  2. Assess and describe the developmental stages of ToM from infancy through adolescence and implications for assessment.
  3. Evaluate the therapeutic implications of ToM deficits in children and adolescents with autism.


  • Types of Theory of Mind Deficits (ToM) and Neurological Bases for the Deficits  
  • ToM Deficits: Developmental Factors to Assess, Implications for the Deficit, and How to Intervene  
    • Infancy/toddler – attachment, gaze following, reading emotional cues  
    • Preschool – pretend play, emotional vocabulary  
    • Kindergarten/early elementary – perspective taking; autobiographical memory; future time travel/self-regulation  
    • Later elementary and beyond – social emotions; lies/sarcasm; personal life stories 

Target Audience

  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants 
  • Physical Therapists 
  • Physical Therapist Assistants 
  • Psychologists 
  • Social Workers 
  • Speech-Language Pathologists 
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel 



Overall:      5

Total Reviews: 2


Kimberly W

"THANK YOU for including this GREAT seminar!!"

Michelle A

"Dr. Westby was an informative presenter."

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