A New Tool to Help Autistic Children Recognize Facial Expressions

Share Article

Emotions Reader for the iPad, from Momentum Research, is the first learning tool to feature a large number of subtle expressions of real emotion by real people, enabling children on the autism spectrum to study, practice and complete the in-built quizzes.

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have problems in automatically interpreting facial expressions. This makes them less able to see the emotions of people around them and increases their social isolation.

Emotions Reader features twenty-eight video clips of emotions being displayed - first in real time, then in slow motion. Some of these are 'microexpressions', lasting only a fraction of a second.

In completing the quizzes in the interactive ebook, students look at each video clip and think about what changes are happening in the face and body as the person shows emotions such as sadness, excitement, approval, or affection. Each video clip is accompanied by still images and a detailed description of the changes which can be observed as the expression is formed.

The videos were gathered from in-depth interviews on a wide range of topics, from favourite products and TV programs, to stressful events and embarrassing topics.

Dr. John Habershon, the facial coding specialist who developed the tool, commented, “The feedback so far tells us we have created something which is absorbing and fun to use. Ultimately we hope to see students taking the conscious learning from this tool and using it unconsciously in their interactions with others.”

As well as going into great detail, the ebook also gives a general idea of the signs to look out for when someone is feeling happy or sad, uncomfortable or relaxed. It gives pointers on how to spot a large range of subtle emotions.

Students are able to practice systematically and record their progress, then go out and practice in the real world. The ebook can be used independently, or with the help of a parent or teacher.

It can be downloaded from the Apple iBooks store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/emotions-reader/id840124106?mt=11&uo=4.

John Habershon PhD FRSA has spent over 30 years in the market insight business, conducting thousands of face-to-face interviews on a vast range of subjects. He is a consultant and trainer in non-verbal communication.

He has an abiding interest in understanding emotions, holding a PhD from Imperial College, London in social psychology.

Contact John Habershon, or Ingrid Berglund at Momentum Research.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

John Habershon

Ingrid Berglund
Visit website