[This (ongoing) experimental project is inspired by the research work of Dr. Noah J. Sasson & Daniel Faso of School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, UT Dallas.]
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder involving qualitative impairments in social interaction. One source of those impairments are difficulties creating facial expressions of emotion (fear, sadness, anger or happiness). Individuals with ASD can have very expressive faces, but the emotions conveyed could sometimes seem overly intense and unusual, for us who are believed as ‘normal’. ASD represents a wide range of symptoms, but one defining characteristic is a difficulty with social interactions. People with ASD often have problems recognizing the emotions of others from physical cues, such as facial expression or gestures. Interestingly, most research in autism focuses on impairments in the person’s ability to understand social and emotional information about other people. But what we failed to understand that social interaction is both way communication and here others are having difficulty to understand the emotions and the thought processes of people with autism.
In usual research experiments, researchers took posed photographs of individuals with ASD, which are not always truthful or accurate to capture natural expressions. The posed condition is expected to be more intense overall and less natural because that’s how people pose. In this long-term imaging experiment, my endeavour is to capture the natural expressions and gestures of children with ASD against external stimuli. In contrary to Dr. Sasson’s work, I am doing this experiment with the children & adolescents, instead of adults having ASD. These images are a part of the project captured over a period of the time when these children underwent rehearsals for some cultural events, where different kind of performing activities was considered as the external stimuli. The outcome of this project may help in turn to clinically evaluate the individual therapeutic plan for children with ASD.
Prof. (Dr) Nandita Chatterjee and Udbhaas Child Development Centre, Kolkata.