Miller – Mental Verbs

I think I may have sounded as if I don’t think that mental verbs matter in a previous post.  I want to clarify that because that may have been what I thought at the time, but after thinking about it a bit, I would like to change my opinion on it.

One of the comorbidities that I have heard about relating to autism is anxiety and depression.  In my student teaching experience, I saw both of these manifest themselves in what my cooperating teacher called “tantrums.”  These tantrums usually came when they tried to communicate something, but were temporarily unsuccessful.  I think one of our most important jobs as people who work with autistics is helping them find the words to describe what they need and what they are going through.

I am not against teaching them the vocabulary that can help them.  However, it must be a two way street.  Many people with autism attempt to communicate with us through ways we don’t look for.  We don’t look for them because we are looking for OUR language which they may or may not ever use.  So, while we can help teach them the vocabulary that can help them, we must also try to understand their language just as we are expecting them to learn ours.


Miller, Carol. “Developmental Relationships between Language and Theory of Mind.” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 15.2 (May 2006): 142-154. Ebsco. Web. 26 March 2015.

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