Note: Most Internet Explorer 8 users encounter issues playing the presentation videos. Please update your browser or use a different one if available.

The Effects of Parental Intervention On Emotion Recognition of Children with ASD: Preliminary Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Friday, 3 May 2013: 14:00-18:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
R. Rosenan1, T. Gev1, H. Avital2 and O. Golan2, (1)Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, (2)Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel
Background: Emotion and mental state recognition difficulties form a core deficit of individuals with ASD. Previous attempts to teach emotion recognition to children with ASD have yielded limited results, especially on generalization to everyday life. Parental intervention was used in many therapeutic protocols for children with ASD and has been found successful in improving children's behavior, language, and social skills. Little is known about improvement of emotional development, including emotion recognition.

Objectives:  To evaluate the effect of parent intervention on children's ability to learn emotion recognition from an animation series focusing on emotions and social situations. Emotion Tutoring Parent Intervention (ETPI) included a systematic and structured parent-child program provided to parents in a guidebook. The program consisted of conversation, play, and reading activities related to a selection of 16 basic and complex emotions and mental states. It provided an opportunity to teach children about emotions in a natural and experiential way, in order to boost generalization. The parent-child activities were based on the different emotions and mental states presented in the animation series. 

Methods:  Participants in this preliminary report of an ongoing study were twelve children with high functioning ASD, aged 4-7 years. Each child received a DVD of an animation series, and watched it for 10 minutes per day for 8 weeks. Parents of half of the children were also provided with the ETPI guidebook, and were asked to implement it on a daily basis, for at least 20 minutes per day. Measures were taken before and at the end of the intervention period. Measurements included computerized emotion recognition tasks and a verbal emotion definition task.

Results: After 8 weeks of intervention, children whose parents used the ETPI achieved higher scores on a computerized emotion recognition generalization task than the children whose parents did not use the ETPI.

Conclusions: The Emotion Tutoring Parent Intervention may promote emotion recognition skills and their generalization, among children with ASD. This preliminary data demonstrates how the impact of existing interventions, or even recreational activities (such as watching a TV series) could be boosted through the use of structured and systematic parent-child activities. It also demonstrates how parent might imbed naturalistic and mutually enjoyable activities focusing on emotion tutoring into the child’s daily life, in order to promote emotional development.

| More