Background: Theory of Mind (ToM) is an essential component of communication with the others and social understanding. Cognitive structures, such as language, working memory, and executive functions play a special role in understanding the others҆ minds. Thus, given importance of the role of language skills in development of ToM and the previous research findings regarding the restricted capacity of children with cerebral palsy (CP) in development of their ability to understand others’ thoughts and feelings, this review study was designed to mainly evaluate the influence of language on ToM in children with CP.
Methodology: For this purpose, initially, electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFo, MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science) were searched from September 1 to 30, during 2000-2020. In this review article, search was done focusing on the English-written papers using a combination of keywords including: “Cerebral Palsy, Theory of Mind, Mentalization, and Language” to identify relevant studies from 2000 to 2020.
Results: A total of 978 publications were identified according to the initial search criteria. After reviewing abstracts, titles, and references of the identified papers, 10 potentially relevant papers were selected. Based on assessing their full-text, 7 papers completely met the inclusion criteria.
Given that children with CP have not been addressed by numerous investigations to date, there is limited information about their ToM skills and the role of other different components of ToM development. Therefore, further research should be carried out to investigate this issue. The combined findings of the reviewed papers showed that language skills had an effect on capacity to elaborate ToM competence in children with CP. This review study paves the path to the future common research on children with CP and underlines importance of using a methodology, in which ToM performance is studied in concert with a detailed investigation of speech and motor impairments.