AN APPLICATION OF COMPUTER-BASED TRAINING ON EMOTION DISCRIMINATION IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM: A COMPARISON TO NON-COMPUTER-BASED TRAINING
by Amy Schrembs
The efficacy of the computer software program FaceSay™ in helping to teach discrimination between emotions correlated with facial expressions was evaluated in comparison to non-computer-based training on a multiple baseline schedule in low functioning children ages 7-11 (n=7), diagnosed with autism. The participants were assessed on their ability to correctly match emotion labels to pictures of emotional affect using the Ekman and Friesen (1976) series of photographs. The data indicate a general improvement in the participants ability to discriminate emotional states based on facial expression, although in some participants the level of improvement was greater than others. The data also generally shows a greater improvement in the abilities of participants who completed more sessions of the computer-based instruction. Conclusiveness of the computer program’s exclusive effects on recognition of emotion in facial expression however is challenged by observed increases in recognition abilities following baseline sessions of instruction in some participants. Overall, the results suggests that protracted exposure to the Facesay™ program will likely produce an increase in the ability of children with autism to discriminate facial expressions.