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Self-competence and emotional understanding in high-functioning children with autism

  • Lisa Capps (a1), Marian Sigman (a1) and Nurit Yirmiya (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

This study examined the relationships between perceived self-competence, intellectual ability, emotional understanding, and parent report of social adaptation in 18 nonretarded children with autism. Children who perceived themselves as less socially competent demonstrated stronger intellectual capabilities, greater understanding of others' emotional experiences, and were better able to access their own emotional experiences than were those who perceived themselves as more socially competent. According to their parents, children who reported less social competence also displayed more socially adaptive behavior, and expressed more interest and less sadness and fear than did those who reported greater social competence. Discussion focuses on potential effects of this heightened capacity for emotional understanding on self-esteem and implications for intervention with highly intelligent persons with autism.

Corresponding author
UCLA Medical School, 68–237B NPI, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
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