Sunday, February 9, 2014

Interpreting Facial Expressions With Video Clips

Facial expressions. We all have them. We go through probably hundreds of them each day, depending on our mood. For kids with pragmatic difficulties, they can be super difficult to read and interpret correctly. I usually have at least one student who needs to work on this skill, so I thought I'd share how I target it.

First, we talk about why it's important to LOOK at people's faces. Some of our kids tend to retreat into their own worlds, which can make it more difficult for them to recognize the subtle nuances of facial expressions. Some of my kids need direct reminders and instructions to look at people's faces. Not stare, but be aware that you can gain valuable information from a person's face.

Once attention is brought to that, I like to pair students up and take turns "experimenting" with different expressions. These tend to become more exaggerated, which is ok for now. We talk about what the other person's eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, and eyebrows are doing. That's a lot of moving parts to discuss!

After that, we move on to pictures/apps with static pictures so I can be fairly certain the student can interpret those correctly before dialogue and other language is added. Some apps that are good for this include:

Touch and Learn Emotions (free)

Then it's time to bring on the video clips! The pause button will become your best friend here. You should preview these to make sure they are a good fit for your students. The following are some great starting clips:

1. Pee Wee Herman: This clip features a few different people with varying emotions, so you could pause and discuss what each person is feeling.

2. Cosby show: This is an older show that most of your students probably won't know, but that's ok! There are several kids in this clip and some great expressions!

3. Kids Foot Locker: This one does a good job of showing confusion. 

4. Gogurt: This one shows surprise, excitement, confusion, etc.

5. Doritos: This one is cute and shows surprise, shock, fear, and happiness. The dog's expression is pretty funny too!

This is just a start! Be sure to have your mouse handy, so you can click pause at the right moments! I hope this helps you target facial expressions in your therapy room. 

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