Monday, January 9, 2012

Cartoon improves empathetic skills of children with autism

Researchers have discovered that empathy can be taught to children by using a specially designed cartoon. The Transporters, a DVD created to help youngsters with autism and Asperger Syndrome to recognise emotions, was played to children with autism aged from four to seven years, every day for four weeks. The children's emotional vocabulary and recognition was gauged before and after the study, and they were found to have improved in all areas.The study, published by the British Psychological Society in the British Journal of Educational Psychology's Education Neuroscience monograph, was conducted by a team of psychologists including Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and Dr Emma Ashwin from the University of Cambridge, and Dr Ofer Golan, now at Bar-Ilan University.The Transporters series stars eight toy vehicles with actors' faces displaying emotions. The cast consists of two trams, two cable cars, a chain ferry, a coach, a funicular railway, and a tractor, all of which move on either tracks or cables. Children with autism prefer such vehicles to planes or cars that can move freely.

The Transporters