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Autism. 2001 Sep;5(3):299-316.

Evaluation of a new computer intervention to teach people with autism or Asperger syndrome to recognize and predict emotions in others.

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  • 1The Child and Family Unit, St James's Hospital, Leeds, UK.


This randomized controlled trial looked at the effect of a new computer program designed to teach people with autistic spectrum disorders to better recognize and predict emotional responses in others. Two groups of 11 children (age 12-18) with autism or Asperger syndrome at two special schools participated: one group used the computer program for 10 half-hour sessions over 2 weeks. Within-program data showed a significant reduction in errors made from first to last use. Students were assessed pre- and post-intervention using facial expression photographs, cartoons depicting emotion-laden situations, and non-literal stories. Scores were not related to age or verbal ability. The experimental group made gains relative to the control group on all three measures. Gains correlated significantly with the number of times the computer program was used and results suggest positive effects. Further research could assess whether these gains generalized into real life or improved performance on theory of mind measures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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