Free Press Journal

New app to boost social skills of autistic kids


Hyperactive Kids

Washington: Researchers have designed a new app that can help kids growing up with autism develop basic social skills.

The app, called Look At Me, aims to train autistic children to maintain eye contact and convey basic emotions. The app was developed by Samsung in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team of clinical psychiatrists from Seoul National University and Yonsei University, South Korea. The app uses selected Samsung devices’ cameras, putting users through a set of points-based missions, ‘Gizmag’ reported.

Each mission focuses on a specific goal, such as recognising emotions in others via facial recognition, or helping the child to express their own feelings by mimicking the emotions conveyed on the app. To assess the effectiveness of the tool, researchers conducted a small-scale clinical trial involving 20 autistic children, which yielded very “promising” results. “Sixty per cent of the children tested showed improvement in making eye contact,” said Kyong-Mee Chung, a Professor at Yonsei University.

“They could also identify emotional expressions more easily. This app will help children with autism improve their perception and expression of diverse emotions, such as happiness, surprise and fear,” Chung said.