The program is based on the outcomes of a 3-year $2.5M EU-funded collaborative effort by technology and research organizations across Europe and Israel (EU project ASC-Inclusion), led by some of the top autism researchers, including Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen (Cambridge University) Prof. Sven Bölte (Karolinska Institute), and Prof. Ofer Golan (Bar Ilan University) together with Autism-Europe organization and additional technology and autism specialists.
Clinical trials with children were conducted as part of the EU project to clinically evaluate the effectiveness of exposing the children to Camp-exploration environment. Significant improvement was found on the children’s ability to recognize emotions in all three modalities: face, voice and body. Furthermore: the results support far-reaching effects on their general social skills.
Who and how? – Methods
Participants were 98 children with ASC, 6-10 years old, and their parents, in 3 sites: UK, Israel and Sweden. Two groups were defined: a treatment group – children with ASC who used the system, and a control group – children who did not. The two groups were tested before and after the trial period and compared for various parameters.
Results and conclusions – System and program effectiveness
The results show that children with ASC improved on emotion recognition and socialization after taking the intervention, suggesting the intervention was effective in helping children learn socio-emotional skills.
Those results echo the feedback from the parents of children with ASC who were part of the intervention group:
78.9% of the parents noticed a positive change in their child’s behaviour and emotion related abilities
95.2% of the parents said they would recommend Camp-exploration to other families
Parents and children also provided valuable suggestions to further improve the environment which will be applied in the ongoing development of the environment.
“My son never talked about emotions. When angry or distressed, he would throw himself on the floor, or even knock his head against it. After learning the “anger” lesson in Camp-exploration, he came back from school one day and instead of those “autistic” behaviours, he told me: I’m angry. A few days later he said to me: “I love you” for the first time.
“T was very excited about the game. After a while he started to share observations on people, using the terminology and clues taught in the program, and I was amazed to realize he actually uses it to interpret what other people around him felt.”
“I was pleased to hear from H’s teacher that the game ignited communication between H and his friends at school: H would show the game to his friends to share his experience – something he never did before. H even began to ask his friends at school about their emotions.”
The research leading to this software product has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013), under grant agreement n° 289021.