In this article I make the assumption that we are especially well adapted forreasoning about the mind. The cognitive processes underpinning this ability seem tofunction very early in development and play an important part in the growth of relatedforms of intellectual faculties. In particular, it seems that an early understanding of mindis essential for language development. There is a bi-directional influence, though, becausebeing able to communicate with language then allows the child to gain much deeperpsychological insights: Verbal communication allows a window on the minds of otherpeople. However, we have recently obtained evidence to suggest that until about the ageof 6 years, children's bias to interpret speech literally is an impediment to their apprehensionof utterances as a product of minds. When children overcome this problem beyond 6years of age, they have potential to gain even deeper psychological insights from verbalinformation. The account I present depicts development in understanding the mind as aprocess that continues over a long period ; it contraducts theorists who say that children acquire a theory of mind at the age of 4 years in a singular conceptual shift.
Recently, the mechanism of communication deficits in autistic children hasbeen argued from various theoretical background, such as “cognitive theory (Theoryofmind) ”,“affective theory,” and “affordance theory.” Most studies consider the jointattention to be a precursor of communication skill. We can realize well functioningspeech or reciprocal communication in a social context, when both the speaker and thelistener have common affective states or mind shared with one another. Then, how canhuman being develop the ability to have affective states or joint attention? The authorproposes “body-experience sharing theory (BEST).” This theory insists on the importanceof sharing body-experience or reciprocal communication through body sensation suchas warmth and softness, as the premise for developing affect sharing and joint attention.Based on the shared good body-experience with caregivers, children come to be able to getinto a world in which common meaning is shared. In this article, the author suggests thatthe disturbance of shared body-experience causes joint attention deficits in autistic children, and discusses the BEST based intervention strategy of developing joint attention.