Thesis topic

Development and evaluation of a social cognition program in children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder

  • Type
  • Keywords
    Autism spectrum disorder, social cognition, cognitive remediation, educability, social competencies


Social deficits have a prominent place in the symptomatology of autism, an evolutive and heterogeneous condition affecting 14.6 per 1000 children aged of 8 years old (Christensen et al., 2016). These deficits make difficult their school and social integration and, later, their socio-professional integration. Neurosciences researches allows us to understand the difficulties under the terminology “deficits in social cognition”. It refers to the mental operations underlying social interactions, which include the ability to perceive the intentions and dispositions of others (Brothers, 1990; Ziv, Leiser, & Levine, 2011). According to the principle of educability (Meirieu, 2009), it would be possible to improve the skills of ASD children with targeted training sessions. Speranza (2009) suggests two dimensions of social cognition which need to be simultaneously worked on: firstly, the perceptual component, which appeal to the capabilities of the subject to read the peripheral clues of emotions such as facial emotions, prosody and gestures and, secondly, the cognitive component, which incorporates perceptual aspects and refers to the understanding of rules, social conventions and the theory of mind.

We aim, for a PhD student, to conduct researches to 1) better understand social cognition deficits in ASD children, 2) design a cognitive remediation of social cognition in this population, 3) evaluate the effectiveness of such remediation over the long term and to check its spread in the aspects of the daily lives.

About this topic

Related to
Clinical Orthopedagogy
Marie-Claire Haelewyck

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