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Effects of a Computer-Based Intervention on Emotion Understanding in Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions

Abstract

This randomized controlled study evaluated a computer-based intervention on emotion understanding in 32 children with autism spectrum conditions with and without intellectual disability (ID) aged 7–15 years. The intervention group (n = 16) used the program for 12 h while the control group (n = 16) was not included in any intervention or training beside the usual educational curriculum. After controlling for pre-intervention scores and symptom severity, strong positive effects were observed in emotion recognition from real face photographs and pictograms, as well as in understanding situation-based emotion across both intellectual ability groups. The typical and ID intervention groups performed significantly better on all EU measures, compared to controls, at the level of feature based distant generalization.

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Notes

  1. Learning Emotions (Ucime emocii), is available in Macedonian language free of charge at www.ucimeemocii.com.

  2. Interpretation of the partial eta squared according to (Cohen 1988): > 0.01 small effect size, > 0.06 medium effect size, > 0.14 large effect size.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Bojan Vasilevski at Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje, Macedonia, who developed the software; Radmila Stojkovska Aleksova and Marija Velinovska at Open the Windows for their assistance in recruiting participants, and Dr. Yan Liu at Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Instructional Technology, Central Connecticut State University, US, for her valuable advice on statistical issues. Our gratitude is also extended to the children and families, school principals and staff who made this research possible. This paper is adapted from the first author’s Master’s dissertation in Autism and Intellectual Impairments at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia.

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Authors

Contributions

IVP conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the measurement and the statistical analysis, interpretated the data and drafted the manuscript; VT conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination and supervised the project. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ivana Vasilevska Petrovska.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Vasilevska Petrovska, I., Trajkovski, V. Effects of a Computer-Based Intervention on Emotion Understanding in Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 4244–4255 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04135-5

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Intellectual disability
  • Intervention
  • Emotion understanding
  • Emotion recognition
  • Computer-based intervention
  • Facial expressions