Research evidence of social cognitive intervention: Implications for people with autism

Cheung Pui Pui Phoebe

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pervasive and enduring social skill deficits contribute to social dysfunction in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Social-cognitive intervention is one of the emerging intervention modalities that facilitate social participation in individuals with ASD. A number of these social-cognitive interventions exist on the basis of different underlying theoretical postulations in existing literature. However, its identification and categorization were not well mentioned in the literature, while its evidence of treatment effectiveness has not yet received systematically empirical evaluation. During social cognition process, one understands and utilizes social knowledge for a socially acceptable response. According to Klin et al., (2002), children with autism were lagged three standard deviations or more in social cognition as compared to the typically developing children. This deficiency in social cognition is postulated to associate with the impaired theory of mind (ToM) (Fletcher-Watson, McConnell, Manola & McConachie, 2014). ToM is the ability to understand other people's thoughts, intentions and beliefs, and to realize that these factors will guide and affect one's behaviors. It is particularly important for social interactions and building social relationships at different stages of life (Adibsershki et al., 2015). With ToM deficits, the chance of children with autism being bullied is relatively higher than their peers (Nowell et al., 2014). Bullying experiences are often traumatic leading to low selfesteem and even mental issues including anxiety, depression as well as the thought of suicide (Waugh & Peskin, 2015). This chapter will review the empirical evidence for the types of current theories of social-cognitive interventions for children and adolescents with ASD, and examine the evidence-based effectiveness of social-cognitive interventions. They were based on the categorization of theories identified in this review, to promote social participation for individuals with ASD. The author will review the relationship of social cognition and theory of mind and its treatment strategies for people with autism. Intervention strategies will highlight to promote the enhancement of social cognition and maximize their social participation in their context.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Social Cognition
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Perspectives and Cultural Differences
PublisherNova Science Publishers Inc.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781536131611
ISBN (Print)9781536131604
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Autism
  • Social cognitive intervention
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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