Training Faces is a fantastic app that helps autistic children to practice emotion and facial recognition. We found the app to be particularly effective when used on large tablets and with adult supervision. The app receives an EAS Certification of 5 Stars and EAS Recommended Status.
This is an app that aims to create empathy. Empathy is the lens by which we measure and respond to others' emotions, expressions and feelings. Autism produces difficulties in understanding the emotional and mental states of others. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and practice exercises that help kids to compensate for the deficit. This app helps to compensate for the deficit by training the brain to be aware and to look for specific expressions in order to identify the meaning behind it.
The methodology of the app is based on tried and tested methods of practice and facial recognition done via pictures in person/in-class training. The only thing that is new is that kids do not need to go anywhere or have any physical pictures to content with. Moreover, he she can play the game and get instant feedback as to whether his answers are correct or incorrect (these are simply marked with ticks and crosses within the game as emphasis is placed on positive reinforcement within the game). This makes the learning process very fluid and quick. In fact, as the pictures are not illustrations (they are photographs), it is very easy to identify what the expression is.
The app has a very easy demo version that explains exactly how to use the app so kids (and parents) will find it very easy to get started and get stuck into the game.
The game in itself asks the user to choose one of the 9 expressions that are displayed. These expressions are; happy, sad, afraid, excited, angry, sick, tired, confused and silly. Each expression has 4 games (which act also like levels) within it. The game is set against the backdrop of a train journey and a moving train with pictures of the different people with the chosen facial expression. The user's mission is to tap the faces that have the expression they chose earlier. Points are scored for identifying the correct expressions in the shortest period of time.
In addition to the facial expression, each new game has an explanation/story with regards to how the person got said face. For example, "Kathy is tired because she couldn't sleep last night" and "Wendy is angry because she is not allowed to go the circus". These explanations and provide further context and cues to the learner with regards to why people get to the point of the feeling.
Overall, this is a very well thought out app with a methodology that is proven to work in autistic children and we could not recommend it highly enough.
From the Developer
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