Wieckowski, White (2020) Attention Modification to Attenuate Facial Emotion Recognition Deficits in Children with Autism: A Pilot Study Journal of autism and developmental disorders 50(1) 30-41


Diminished attending to faces may contribute to the impairments in emotion recognition and expression in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study evaluated the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of an attention modification intervention designed to attenuate deficits in facial emotion recognition (FER). During the 10-session experimental treatment, children (n = 8) with ASD watched dynamic videos of people expressing different emotions with the facial features highlighted to guide children's attention. Children and their parents generally rated the treatment as acceptable and helpful. Although FER improvement was not apparent on task-based measures, parents reported slight improvements and decreased socioemotional problems following treatment. Results suggest that further research on visual attention retraining for ASD, within an experimental therapeutic program, may be promising.