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Sally-Anne test - how important/significant is this is diagnosing ASD?

(13 Posts)
bunny2 Thu 07-Jul-05 08:46:37

DS, 5 years 1 month, failed the Sally-Anne test when with the EP. He has now been referred to a Paediatrician. Is failing the Sally Anne test a sure sign of ASD?

Tiggiwinkle Thu 07-Jul-05 09:15:43

I think it is a pointer rather than a sure sign. Jimjams on here suggested we try the test when an ASD was first mentioned in respect of my DS last year, when he was 5. He failed the test-much to our surprise-and has since been given a diagnosis of Aspergers.

Jimjams Thu 07-Jul-05 09:22:04

Nope, and in fact my friend's reasonably severely autistic dd passes it (and my severely autistic ds1 will hide things from his brother so clearly has some TOM, although there's no way a Sally -Anne test could be done with him so I don't know whether he'd pass it). Apparently new research suggests its the false belief task within the Sally-Anne test that autistics struggle with (and I haven't followed that up any further yet so not entirely sure what that means).

That result will be looked at together with other test results that look more specifically for ASD iyswim.

bunny2 Thu 07-Jul-05 20:03:30

thankyou Tiggiwinkle and Jimjams.
I was interested as the EP report devotes quite a lengthy paragraph to "theory of mind" or lack of it. Not sure what 'false beleif' is Jimjams ... have you any idea??

Tiggiwinkle, how are things going for you? I know you are a few steps ahead of us here. Ds wont see the paed until next academic year so more months of uncertainty ahead.

Jimjams Thu 07-Jul-05 20:24:12

not sure yet bunny- it came up in a discussion I had with the person I will eventually (hopefully) be doing research with. I'm not sure any of this is published yet though.

Tiggiwinkle Fri 08-Jul-05 00:03:15

Bunny-The possibility of an ASD was first mentioned to us last October by a paed at the CDC. She referred DS to the clinical psychologist and he was put on the waiting list.But things got much worse as the Autumn term went on-he was not coping in year one at school and was becoming increasingly anxious. By the end of term DS had literally stopped eating(plus lots of other problems) and he was seen urgently by the CP who was convinced he had Aspergers.
In our area, the waiting list for the Communications Clinic, which normally does the diagnosis here, was over a year. The clinical psychologist and child psychiatrist did the assessment themselves so in fact the whole thing only took 6 months for us.
School has been problematic, especially prior to DX, but I think this has been largely due to an unsympathetic teacher. The SENCO is insistant that DS is "too able" to be statemented. I am considering whether to apply for an assessment myself as I do not feel DS is reaching his potential-he is receiving no one-to-one help at all at present.
What problems is your DS experiencing-is autism something you have ever considered as a possibilty?

bunny2 Fri 08-Jul-05 21:08:27

Tiggiwinkle, I remember reading your posts before. I hope you get the help your ds needs. I have suspected ds might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum for some time. He is obssessed about trains (really obssessed with the sodding things, talks about them all day sometimes) and he has some odd behaviours such as finger-flicking when he is excited. I know these things are indicators but then he is so 'normal' in other ways. Who knows, he is cetainly a quirky individual. The EP has referred him onto the community paediatrician and I am half expecting a diagnosis to be made. It is frustratinlgy slow though, the teacher first voiced concerns last October.

Jimjams, I read about another test for ToM and I am going to try it on ds. It is the Smartie tube one, do you know it?

Blossomhill Fri 08-Jul-05 21:10:15

Oh Bunny, please tell me about the smartie ToM

beansontoast Fri 08-Jul-05 21:18:10

blossomhill,
the smartie tube test is when pencils are put in the tube instead of smarties ,with the child being tested privvy to this info...

then the child is asked what they think another child would expect to find in the tube.

Blossomhill Fri 08-Jul-05 21:51:12

Could you do this with anything like a pencil case etc? We don't tend to have smarties in our house as send dd sky high ( and ds now I think of it )

jayzmummy Fri 08-Jul-05 22:05:05

There are lots of tests you can do for TOM.
I think a pencil, case would be a bit obvious to use if you put pencils inside...try marbles, pegs...

Our CP did a test where he got a teddy bear layed down on the floor. He poitioned a book upright next to the bear then placed an action man figure on the other side of the book.

He lifted the book and said to J...action man can see teddy bear. Then put book in between both toys. He turned teddy bear over and said to J which way does action man think teddy is facing.

Now supposedly J should have replied that action man would think teddy is lying face down....J sees it so everyone else knows it. That shows lack of TOM.....ONLY my boy, bless him said

"Silly.....action man,toy....no eyes, not work, no real"....he's no fool my boy!

MotherEve Fri 08-Jul-05 22:43:22

There's a well written explanation of Theory Of Mind and its relationship to autism in sections 5 and 6 of this webpage.

Hope this helps

monica2 Sat 09-Jul-05 12:42:01

I have an excellent book Teaching Children with autism to mind-read (Patricia Howlin, simon Baron-Cohen and Julie Hadwin )loads of practical TOM stuff for parents to do including recognising facial expression from photos, recognising emotion for drawings, identifying situation based emotions, identifying desire based emotions and indentifying belief based emotions.

Bunny2 dd failed the Sally Ann test at 7, there are other every day pointers to give you a clue with your ds, eg dd frequently asks who lives in that house?? where is that family going in that car? if she is telling me about a picture she is holding she doesn't hold it facing me and has no concept that I cannot actually see what she is talking about.

Jimjams there are some false belief tests in this book but not sure how advanced ds is with this pecs to enable him to do them.

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