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It is well documented that the processing of social and emotional information is impaired in people with autism. Recent studies have shown that individuals, particularly those with high functioning autism, can learn to cope with common social situations if they are made to enact possible scenarios they may encounter in real life during therapy. The main aim of this work is to describe an interactive life-like facial display (FACE) and a supporting therapeutic protocol that will enable us to verify if the system can help children with autism to learn, identify, interpret, and use emotional information and extend these skills in a socially appropriate, flexible, and adaptive context. The therapeutic setup consists of a specially equipped room in which the subject, under the supervision of a therapist, can interact with FACE. The android display and associated control system has automatic facial tracking, expression recognition, and eye tracking. The treatment scheme is based on a series of therapist-guided sessions in which a patient communicates with FACE through an interactive console. Preliminary data regarding the exposure to FACE of two children are reported.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:13 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2005