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Comunicar Journal 36: Television and its New Expressions (Vol. 18 - 2011)

Software for teaching emotions to students with autism spectrum disorder


This paper reports the results of a research project in which educational software was used to teach social and emotional skills to primary and secondary school students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The participants with difficulties in recognizing emotional states were nine male and female students aged between 8 and 18, with a mental age range of between 5 and 7 years. A single group design with pre-test/post-test was used. The students were assessed before teaching in relation to their levels of social and emotional skills. This assessment was intended to set the starting level of the teaching process for each student. The educational intervention consisted of two 45-minute weekly sessions for 20 weeks over two academic years (2006/2008). Following the intervention, each student was again assessed. Results indicate that the pupils improved their performance in tasks that evaluate the ability to recognize and understand emotional expressions. These results confirmed that the use of educational software for teaching social and emotional skills helps students with ASD to improve their ability to perform tasks aimed at the understanding of emotional skills. In addition, the participants improved their social skills significantly, a fact that was noticed by both teachers and families.