I've just been sent this link, it's about a small project that used cartoons narrated by the actor Stephen Fry to help teach children with autism about facial expressions and emotions. The research is promising and having viewed the sample episode online I can see how it would particularly appeal to some of the vehicular obsessed children I've worked with. The series was commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and are now being given to around 30,000 other families with autistic children between the ages of two and eight. For more information and to get your free copy look at The Transporters. Let me know what you think and if it helps your child by adding your comments below.
Whilst reading that article I remembered some of the other resources I've used with children with autism to look at emotions so I thought I'd post them here...
Thomas the Tank Engine books are great as the trains faces are used to show the expression and the stories can be used to explain why the character feels as they do. How do you feel, Thomas? is a specific emotions book with the royalties being donated to The National Autistic Society. The new Underground Ernie trains might also give another opportunity for studying faces. Pingu cartoon are good too as the lack of language in them means that children need to infer the feelings of the characters from their intonation, volume and their facial expressions / non-verbal communication.
Another fun ways to look at emotions are acting out scenarios using puppets, this helps to cement how people feel in situations - a good activity is making puppets with different facial expressions using wooden spoons.