Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Transporters – A Review

I recently received the DVD, The Transporters to review (I’m not being paid to do this) and I think it was a great resource that parents and teachers should have. You can read more about them by going to the website The Transporters and see a sample video also. According to the press release this is “the brainchild of Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, a leading world authority on autism and produced in association with his research team at the Autism Research Center at Cambridge University, United Kingdom.” The DVD has five stories that are about 15 minutes long, interactive quizzes at the end of each story, and a 36 booklet to help you use the DVD in the most effective way. There is a link to buy it on the website and for US buyers, it costs $57.70.

Many of the students I taught lacked social skills due to their disabilities and one of the reasons was that they were unable to understand other people’s feelings. They could not decipher the expressions on their faces and understand the emotions that other people were feeling. At inappropriate times, my students would laugh when another person was sad or angry. This caused many problems in relationships with other students and teachers. We spent a lot of time working on social skills because that was necessary in order to be successful in any given situation.

The characters in The Transporters involve different vehicles of transportation with real people faces on them. As they go about different situations, we can see their faces as they show different emotions. Each story line focuses on a different emotion and we can see how different faces look like when they show this emotion. I really liked that the faces were of people different ages, gender, and races so that a student could relate emotions to different types of people. They would not think that an emotion is only related to one type.

I know this is geared to students who are diagnosed with autism but I think it is also a great resource for children with mental disabilities. I have taught students who have had these disabilities and I think the predictability of the characters in these stories along with faces that will become familiar are helpful in teaching students these skills. My students with autism loved videos that weren’t too over stimulating and The Transporters fit the bill. The stories are not too long either so students won’t get bored watching them.

I also like at the end of each story, the students can take a quiz. There are two choices: easy quiz (with two choices for answers) or hard quiz (which had three choices for answers). Students love having choices but not too many so just having the option of picking which quiz is good for them. I like how the quiz is given orally along with pictures to go with the emotions which reinforces the words to the facial expressions.

I could see this being used as a group or individual lesson. For students who need more practice, they can watch the story again if necessary. According to the research given in the press release, “after 15 minutes a day for four weeks, most children with autism caught up with other children in their ability to recognize emotions.”


Margaret said...

that's pretty cool! I want to show it to my 2nd graders so that my suspected Aspie & 76ish IQ kid can pick up some skills & everybody else can catch a glimmer that the universe doesn't revolve around them :-)
And it's boy-stuff! woot! got to go bookmark that site. thanks!

Molly Shimms said...

The DVD is perfect for those kids who suffers from autism. That teaches them how to interact with other people.

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loonyhiker said...

Margaret: I hope it helps. Let me know how it goes.

loonyhiker said...

Molly Shimms: Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog.