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UNDERSTANDING AND TEACHING PERSPECTIVE TAKING IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

WHAT IS PERSPECTIVE TAKING?

 
Perspective Taking is the ability to look beyond one’s own point of view and consider how others may feel about something.  To take another’s perspective, one must have Theory of Mind, that is, understand that others have thoughts, feelings and opinions that may be different and are independent of your own. 
 

Why is Perspective Taking Important?

 
  • Because we do not live in isolation {We are often around others}
  • Because we often feel differently or have different experiences {than do our peers} 
  • Because we need to take perspective to successfully work and play with others
  • Because perspective taking allows us to make and keep friends {jobs and romantic partners}
 

So how can we help our special students, develop and improve their perspective taking skills?

 

 

Below is a list of some important splinter skills that I think are essential to teach, in order to improve their Perspective Taking ability.
 
  • Noticing Others:  Sounds simple but it is not necessarily…for our kiddos.  The first step to teaching kids to take other’s perspectives is to teach them to notice others.
  • Emotions ID: Be able to identify and communicate a range of emotions.
  • Point of View: A particular way of considering something
  • Theory of Mind: The understanding the others may {and often do…} have different feelings and experience things differently than we do.
  • Cognitive Flexibility: The ability to adapt one’s thinking, in response to changes in the environment
  • Self Control: The ability to control or inhibit one’s behavior, when necessary.
  • Fact vs. Opinion: A fact can be proven/observed and an opinion is a belief or feeling about something.
  • Motive and Intent: Motive-The reason someone does something, Intent- What the person hopes to gain, by doing something.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
  
As you can see…there is a lot to it!
 
 
With time, patience and sometimes explicit instruction, our kiddos can learn and grow Perspective Taking skills!  If you need help with explicit teaching of these splinter skills, I have linked some of my favorite, related resources above.
 
Would you like to teach your students about Noticing Others? 
 
A great place to start teaching Perspective Taking is by teaching children how and why to Notice each other. 
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