Parental Insightfulness into the Inner World of the Child with Autism: Its Significance for the Child and Implications for Parent-Mediated Interventions

  • David OppenheimEmail author
  • Nina Koren-Karie
Part of the Autism and Child Psychopathology Series book series (ACPS)


Parental insightfulness– the capacity to see and feel things from the child’s point of view– has been found to promote sensitive and emotionally regulating parental behavior as well as secure attachment and other positive socioemotional outcomes in the child. Parental insightfulness is relevant for parent-mediated interventions because regardless of the specific focus of the interventions, parents are those who carry them out, and they need to do so in a flexible and appropriate way that takes the child perspective into consideration. In this chapter we first describe the concept of insightfulness and its measurement using the insightfulness assessment (IA). We then review studies of insightfulness of mothers and fathers of typically developing children. These studies demonstrate links between insightfulness and maternal sensitivity as well as secure attachment of the child to the parent and other child outcomes. We next review studies that show that insightfulness is equally important in the case of children with autism: Here too it is associated with sensitive maternal behavior and secure attachment, as well as predictive of more inclusive educational placement of the child. Excerpts from IA interviews of both insightful and non-insightful parents of children with autism are presented. We close with thoughts about the relevance of the “language of insightfulness” to parent-mediated interventions.


Insightfulness Maternal sensitivity Paternal sensitivity Attachment Autism 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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