The recognition of facial expressions is important for the perception of emotions. Understanding emotions is essential in human communication and social interaction. Children with autism have been reported to exhibit deficits in the recognition of affective expressions. Their difficulties in understanding and expressing emotions leads to inappropriate behavior derived from their inability to interact adequately with other people. Those deficits seem to be rather permanent in individuals with autism so intervention tools for improving those impairments are desirable. Educational interventions for teaching emotion recognition from facial expressions should occur as early as possible in order to be successful and to have a positive effect. It is claimed that Serious Games can be very effective in the areas of therapy and education for children with autism. However, those computer interventions require considerable skills for interaction. Before age of 6, most children with autism do not have those basic motor skills in order to manipulate a mouse or a keyboard. Our approach takes account of the specific characteristics of preschoolers with autism and their physical inabilities. By creating an educational computer game which provides physical interaction, we hope to support early intervention and to foster learning of emotions.
D. Djaouti, J. Alvarez, J.-P. Jessel, and O. Rampnoux, “Origins of serious games,” in Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, M. Ma, A. Oikonomou, and L. C. Jain, Eds. Springer London, 2011, pp. 25–43