Animated Cartoon Helps Children with Autism

Photo: Blue bus with face 

Empathy can be taught to children with autism by watching a specially designed cartoon. This is the finding of research of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Every day for four weeks children with autism, aged from four to seven years, watched “The Transporters”, a DVD designed to help children with autism and Asperger Syndrome to recognise emotions. The children were tested on their emotional vocabulary and recognition before and after the study. They were found to improve in all areas.

The children’s animated series features eight characters: toy vehicles featuring actors’ faces displaying emotions. The different toy vehicles (two trams, two cable cars, a chain ferry, a coach, a funicular railway, and a tractor) all moved on tracks or cables since children with autism prefer these over vehicles such as planes or cars that can move more freely.

Simon Baron-Cohensaid said: “We would like to see teaching methods such as these become part of all classrooms. This would make schools better suited to people with autism. A little empathy on the part of designers of educational resources may help the development of empathy in children with autism”.; Source: British Psychological Society (BPS)

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