Mindblindness vs Context blindness


On a bridge or in car, context matters

Replacing the generic term of “mindblindness,” often used to refer to people on the autism spectrum, with a more specific term such as “context blindness” has been proposed by Peter Vermeulen, PhD.   Simon Baron-Cohen created the term “mindblindness,” to refer to the deficit  people on the autism spectrum have in reading others mental states. This term was  defined in Theory of the Mind.

  In his book, Autism as Context Blindness, Peter Vermeulen further refines the term, “mindblindness” to more accurately define the differences seen in people with autism, including those with Asperger syndrome.  People with Asperger syndrome often do see context, but they do not understand how context interacts with other social cues they perceive. They give all clues including context, equal weight. Typically context use differs in importance and relevance depending on the many clues present in the situation.  Sometimes context can be ignored, but more often it shapes our communication. Missed context clues have a negative impact on all  forms of communication, from conversations to written correspondence.

People with Asperger have limited understanding of the significance of context. Therefore, they don’t give it the additional attention needed.  Although Peter Vermeulen’s theory is interesting, the reference to “blindness” continues to be inaccurate. People with Asperger syndrome aren’t blind to context. They simply don’t use their knowledge of context to interpret social interactions and clues.  Even though “context blindness” over dramatizes the deficit, and it does not describe the lack of sensitivity people with autism have understanding the relevance of context clues.


Similar posts
  • Speech-language therapy vs Tutoring (Updated)Speech-language therapy vs tutoring: What’s the difference? With so many support services available, understanding the difference between speech-language therapy vs tutoring is important, in order to choose the right services for yourself or your child. Speech-language therapy vs tutoring Tutors re-teach information taught in the classroom.  Students acquire information at different rates, not all master what [...]
  • Communication Problems: Fighting BackDid you know that last month was National Poetry Month? An amazing young client of mine is pen pals with this year’s National Youth Poet Laureate. My client also earned an honorable mention for her haiku in this year’s National poetry competition. She does not let communication challenges stop her. Amanda Gorman says, “I’ve been pen-palling [...]
  • Not eligible for speech-language servicesNot eligible for speech-language services “Not eligible for speech and language services!”  What’s going on? Your child has been receiving speech and language services for several years or needs services.  After a recent team meeting, you were informed that your child is not eligible for speech-language services. How can this be? Is this the right time [...]
  • Music Instruction Develops Executive Function SkillsMy daughter often doesn’t want to practice her instrument, so much of my time and effort has been spent figuring out how to get her to practice her instrument, but I do because music instruction develops executive function skills and will improve other skills like math. Yesterday I  attended a yearly Martin Luther King event [...]
  • “Airplane” not “Mama:” Language Development in Children with Asperger Syn...Language development in children with Asperger Syndrome is often typical for verbal language but delayed in language use. “Compared with those affected by other forms of autism spectrum disorders those with Asperger syndrome (AS) do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development,” states the “Autism Speak’s” website.  Slow developing non-verbal language skills in children [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply


Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.