July 15, 2012

Can emotion recognition be taught to children with autism spectrum conditions?

There are several videos on YouTube showing students speaking about their fondness for the Transporters software and demonstrations of the animations of the faces on the trains. Here is a video with a short interview with Simon Baron Cohen and autism expert and author who helped develop these animations:

This paragraph is a summary of research conducted by the authors on their Transporters software for facial emotion comprehension with children with ASD. Please see attached PDFs below for more on this research.

Simon Baron-Cohen*, Ofer Golan and Emma Ashwin 
Autism Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, Cambridge University, Douglas House, 18B Tr umpington Road, Cambridge CB2 8AH, UK 

Children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have major difficulties in recognizing and responding to emotional and mental states in others’ facial expressions. Such difficulties in empathy underlie their social-communication difficulties that form a core of the diagnosis. In this paper we ask whether aspects of empathy can be taught to young children with ASC. We review a study that evaluated The Transporters, an animated series designed to enhance emotion comprehension in children with ASC. Children with ASC (4 – 7 years old) watched The Transporters every day for four weeks. Participants were tested before and after intervention on emotional vocabulary and emotion recognition at three levels of generalization. The intervention group improved significantly more than a clinical control group on all task levels, performing comparably to typical controls at time 2. The discussion centres on how vehicles as mechanical systems may be one key reason why The Transporters caused the improved understanding and recognition of emotions in children with ASC. The implications for the design of autism-friendly interventions are also explored.

PDF  BC(2009)Canemotio.....pdf (473k) Katharina Boser, Jun 24, 2010      DOWNLOAD »
PDF Golanetal2009online.....pdf (357k) Katharina Boser, Jun 24, 2010      DOWNLOAD »

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