From October 13th, 2010

Recognition of Facial Expressions and Autism Spectrum Disorders

By Marlena N. Smith In a recent study, Farran, Branson, and King found children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and children with Asperser’s Disorder to show impairments in recognizing facial expressions conveying fear, anger, and sadness. Amygdala has been identified as the region of the brain that processes negative or threatening emotions including fear, anger, and sadness. It has also been speculated that the amygdala may function atypically in persons with ASD. Farran et al. set out to explore the ability of persons with ASD to recognize various facial expressions including fear, anger, sadness, surprise, disgust, and happiness.…

The Robots Are Here

Although it sounds as unreal as spaceships landing, the researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, in the U.K. have created a robot that they say can help children with Autism learn the social skills that elude them. The robot, named KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robots) is life, or kid size, and is being used in human-robot interaction studies led by Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn. Her team’s goal is to to demonstrate the “possible therapeutic and educational benefits of “robotic mediators” for children with autism.” It is interesting how far technology has come, now to the point where it…