Aspie children understanding facial expressions

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siuan
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14 Aug 2007, 12:09 am

I tested my daughter, who seems very aware of people's emotions. I made a sad face, and asked what does mommy feel. She said, "You're sad now," and also made a sad face. I then smiled and asked. She smiled and said, "Now you're happy mommy!" And so on for angry and scared.

Is this typical for Aspie children? I thought non-verbal expressions were terribly problematic...or is it more subtle things than this?


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Triangular_Trees
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14 Aug 2007, 12:24 am

ITs easier when its being down intentionally. It would probably be better to ask things like, "How did you think I was feeling when.." and give an example of something that happened earlier in the day.



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14 Aug 2007, 1:07 am

There are some on-line tests to measure ability to read facial expressions.You could try google on here to look for a link.

I think that aspie kids can read the very basic emotions but Non verbal language is also about subtle changes in the face and body posture,hand gestures,etc.It's also difficult to read when people are trying to "fake" an emotion.They maybe smiling but they could be saying something intentionally hurtful,so it gets confussing.I think one of the reasons that many kids enjoy anima is the facial expressions are exagerated and easier to read and they actually incorporate "symbols"...like tears,perspiration,exclaimation marks to help define the emotion.

It also doesnt help us read facial expressions if we tend not to look people in the face for very long(She is probably more likely to feel comfortable looking at her own mom).I never know for sure if I am reading someone correctly and I am 43.I "guess" but the most common things I see are....confussion or boredom.The most common expression I saw from my mom when I was growing up was.....)lips tightly pursed together)disgust,anger,frustration,inpatience.They all look the same to me...lipps tightly pressed together,scowling eyebrows.It used to scare the heck out of me cause I knew I was about to get yelled at for something.


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girl7000
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14 Aug 2007, 3:57 am

Also, you chose some quite angry expressions, and as you were testing her, you probably did them in quite an exaggerated way.

I have AS and can understand the basics; happy, sad, very angry / aggressive etc. but it is the more subtle ones that I struggle with, e.g. feeling worried, feeling 'lost', confusion, friendly etc.

Also, one problem that I had very much as a child was that even though I could identify really obvious facial expressions, I had no idea how to deal with them. For example, if someone was sad, I might have been able to tell, but I didn't know what I was supposed to DO or say when someone expressed to me that they were sad - I had no clue!



nobodyzdream
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14 Aug 2007, 4:07 am

I'm able to tell casually how someone is feeling... after about an hour of watching their behavior, lol. It takes me a really long time, and when people say things like "oh it's nothing" or they try to be cheery and look sad or vice versa, that's often when I have the most difficulties.

But I also tend to not look at faces very often, so even when something is done in a very exaggerated way, or even after a lot of observation, I still often get it wrong.

My daughter is 3, and she can figure out if someone is happy or not just based on whether or not they are smiling, but they work with her a lot in this. Someone can be crying in front of my son and he'll say something like "are you crying because you're fat?" lol-he can tell whether or not people are crying or smiling and all, but cannot tie the emotion to it for the correct response.

I also have trouble I think, telling what another is actually feeling because I do not react to things normally. I'll laugh at the worst of times and such, then not understand why everyone else has a glum expression on their face.

The whole thing is confusing, but if someone is actually telling me to look at them, then doing expressions one at a time, it's pretty easy. It's a lot like looking at one of those picture books where they make things pretty obvious and have the word "happy" next to the little smiley face and whatnot, in fact, I often picture that if someone tries to test me.


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Asparval
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14 Aug 2007, 11:04 am

siuan wrote:
I tested my daughter, who seems very aware of people's emotions. I made a sad face, and asked what does mommy feel. She said, "You're sad now," and also made a sad face. I then smiled and asked. She smiled and said, "Now you're happy mommy!" And so on for angry and scared.

Is this typical for Aspie children? I thought non-verbal expressions were terribly problematic...or is it more subtle things than this?


It depends whether your expressions are subtle or do you look like this? :D :cry: :x 8O



siuan
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15 Aug 2007, 1:45 am

girl7000 wrote:
Also, you chose some quite angry expressions, and as you were testing her, you probably did them in quite an exaggerated way.

I have AS and can understand the basics; happy, sad, very angry / aggressive etc. but it is the more subtle ones that I struggle with, e.g. feeling worried, feeling 'lost', confusion, friendly etc.

Also, one problem that I had very much as a child was that even though I could identify really obvious facial expressions, I had no idea how to deal with them. For example, if someone was sad, I might have been able to tell, but I didn't know what I was supposed to DO or say when someone expressed to me that they were sad - I had no clue!


Yep, that's my problem. I can identify the blatant ones, but I don't know how to deal with them. Except my kids, I seem more adept at that. Don't know why. And my daughter seems to think that she is supposed to mimic these feelings, so I know she doesn't know either. The bonus is, with her, we know what's wrong and she's getting help we missed out on as children.


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siuan
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15 Aug 2007, 1:52 am

Asparval wrote:
siuan wrote:
I tested my daughter, who seems very aware of people's emotions. I made a sad face, and asked what does mommy feel. She said, "You're sad now," and also made a sad face. I then smiled and asked. She smiled and said, "Now you're happy mommy!" And so on for angry and scared.

Is this typical for Aspie children? I thought non-verbal expressions were terribly problematic...or is it more subtle things than this?


It depends whether your expressions are subtle or do you look like this? :D :cry: :x 8O


LOL!! !! I kind of look like those actually...


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15 Aug 2007, 9:42 pm

I myself has a diagnose. And so does two of my three kids. The only persons i can read facial impressions of is my ex and my kids! it's darn difficult to know what mode you should be in. It's like funerals, that always been a pesker to me. It doesn't matter if I knew the person or not, they're devastating me anyway. Wo-hah, the male that can survive a couple of weeks in the wilderness. But it's just that I feel sad. Why I don't know.

Same with my children, they have the same coldness to other people, but animals.... they rock. They have been crawled down with bumblebees and so on and not got stinged, cats like them, dogs is a no word conversation, etc.

But, as me, they are absolutely zeroed on facial expression.



RhondaR
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15 Aug 2007, 10:13 pm

My friend was visiting and tested my son on reading expressions. At first, he refused to sit with us, running behind the couch and hiding in fear. After we coaxed him out by telling him there weren't any wrong answers and that it was a game, he tentatively stood right by me, holding on to me for dear life while we "played". He had a hard time - and what we did was go through papers and magazines looking for photos of different people with different faces. One of them was of a little girl who was worried because her mom was sick (it was an ad for a special hospital in our area), and the picture was done in black and white with a kind of blue wash over it. When my son was asked what the little girl was feeling - she said she was sad, and what's more, the REASON why he thought she was sad was because he learned in school about an artist that used blue paint when he was sad. Since the picture was done in blue - the girl must be sad. Rather than look at the facial cues, my son has learned to look for other clues. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Another interesting thing was that we showed him a picture of two people sitting on their front steps to their home, and both of them had their faces covered by their hands. This picture was combined with an article talking about how their home was in foreclosure, and if you looked closely at the photo, you could tell they were crying. When we asked my son what those people might be feeling, he said that they were happy because they had their hands covering their face - and when I asked him what covering their faces meant - he said that when "you laugh mommy, you cover your face...just like those people."


All in all, it was an interesting exercise because I never realized how difficult it was for my son to understand how I, or anyone else around him was feeling. To me, it's just second nature - and to him, it's obviously not.