Neighborhood Publication: On-line theory-of-mind take a look at, strengths-based autism prognosis, mapping trajectories | Spectrum

Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Hello and welcome to this week’s community newsletter! I am your host, Chelsey B. Coombs, the engagement editor of Spectrum.

Our first thread was from Lucy Livingston, a lecturer in psychology at Cardiff University in the UK. She and her team have developed an online multiple-choice version of a test that examines the theory of mind, or the ability to understand other people’s desires, intentions, and beliefs.

???? New paper! We (Punit Shah, @Sarah_JWhite @HappeLab) created and validated an online multiple choice version of the classic Frith Happé animation test for use with #autistic and #neurotypical adults. #OpenAccess in autism research

– Dr. Lucy Anne Livingston (@Lucy_Livingston) July 10, 2021

Developed in 2000 by Uta Frith, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Development at University College London in the UK, and Francesca Happé, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at King’s College London, the Frith Happé animation test uses interactions between moving triangular shapes to determine the Evaluate theory. mental abilities in autistic people. In the original version, the participants described what they saw, which the researchers then rated. To eliminate subjectivity from these scores, another team created a multiple-choice version in 2011 that makes the new work available online.

The online test works just as well as previous versions, found Livingston and her colleagues, and shows again that autistic people have more difficulties with theoretical skills than non-autistic people. The new test is also more accessible to people outside of research settings.

In 3 studies we show that 1) our multiple-choice test correlates with the classic subjective version, 2) the online performance of our test is comparable to that in the laboratory and 3) autistic people an atypical performance compared to matching neurotypical controls demonstrate.

– Dr. Lucy Anne Livingston (@Lucy_Livingston) July 10, 2021

Frith quoted Livingston in a tweet saying “Nice,” and Felicity Sedgewick, Lecturer in Educational Psychology at the University of Bristol in the UK, said it inspired some new study ideas for her.


– Uta Frith (@utafrith) July 12, 2021

That is very cool! Are you going to share / make it available to other teams? I suddenly have about four different study ideas …

– Dr. Felicity Sedgewick (@SedgewickF) July 12, 2021

Next, a number of autism researchers visited Twitter to praise an autism editorial that highlighted how clinicians can use a strengths-based neurodiversity model, rather than a deficit-based model, to formulate a diagnosis of autism.

Change the Story: How Diagnosticians Can Support a Neurodiversity Perspective from the Beginning

Click below to read this issue’s editorial by Heather M Brown, @AubynStahmer, Patrick Dwyer & Susan Rivera ⬇️https: //

– Autism Journal (@journalautism) July 7, 2021

“A strengths-based approach to sharing developmental and diagnostic information can change the way parents see their autistic children, which in turn changes the way autistic children see themselves, leading to greater empowerment in adulthood” write the authors.

The authors also suggest seven strategies for clinicians to use to achieve this goal, including setting a warm and positive tone, considering the scope of interventions and treatments, and supporting the needs of caregivers.

Meng-Chuan Lai, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto in Canada, described the article as “great”; “Yes, please,” tweeted Ann Memmott, Associate and “Expert by Experience” with the UK National Inclusion Development Team; and Danielle Christy, an educational psychologist in Sacramento, California, hailed it as something “all practitioners should read!”

Great @journalautism editorial – many points also apply to diagnostic disclosure for later diagnoses in adolescents / adults. “Change the story: How diagnosticians can support a neurodiversity perspective from the start”

– Meng-Chuan Lai (@mengchuanlai) July 9, 2021 Useful new research on how more diagnostic teams can support self-esteem and thriving in autistic children and adolescents rather than promoting a stigmatizing and demeaning narrative. Yes, please. Positive, warm, respectful, self-confident, balanced.

– Ann Memmott PGC ???? (@AnnMemmott) July 12, 2021

I love this important discussion on how we need to change the way some great friends at @UCDMINDINST provide an autism diagnosis
All practitioners should read! #StrengthsBased #DifferentNotLess

– Danielle Christy (@inclusivepsych) July 8, 2021

A Spectrum Deep Dive released this week looked at some overlapping topics and examined how autistic people have fared over time in terms of both strengths and weaknesses based on early behavioral markers and genetic variants.

“Whatever the outcome, this unknown is a real challenge for families,” said Anne Arnett, a child psychologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, in the article. “If you can take away the unknown, or at least give them an idea of ​​what to expect over time, this can be an intervention in itself to help families prepare.”

That’s it for this week’s community newsletter from Spectrum! If you have any suggestions for interesting social contributions in the field of autism research, feel free to email me at We meet next week!

Quote this article:


Don’t miss these tips!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.