Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 12, pp 1505–1511 | Cite as

Teaching Emotion Recognition Skills to Children with Autism

Original paper


Autism is associated with difficulty interacting with others and an impaired ability to recognize facial expressions of emotion. Previous teaching programmes have not addressed weak central coherence. Emotion recognition training focused on components of facial expressions. The training was administered in small groups ranging from 4 to 7 children. Improvements were significantly better for the training group (n = 20, mean age 9 years, 3 months) than a waiting list control group (n = 10, mean age 10 years, 7 months). Pre and post measures revealed an effect size of the training of Cohen’s d = 1.42. The impact of the training was highly significant. There was evidence of some generalisation of the emotion recognition and improvements at follow-up.


Autism Emotion recognition Facial expressions 



We wish to thank COPE Foundation who supported and funded this project and to the COPE Foundation Research Committee who granted ethical approval and offered encouragement and support with the project. We wish to thank the Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Developments for supplying us with MacBrain Face Stimulus Set which was used in the teaching part of our project. Development of the MacBrain Face Stimulus Set was overseen by Nim Tottenham and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development. Please contact Nim Tottenham at for more information concerning the stimulus set. This research was completed as part of the second author’s Master’s in Speech and Language Therapy at City University, London.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North Lee Autism Spectrum Disorder ServiceCOPE FoundationCorkIreland

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