Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 6180-6187
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), show serious difficulties in the area of ​​emotional competence, compared to other neurodevelopmental disorders. This difficulty is exhibit not only identifying and expressing facial expressions, but also recognizing the internal and external causes of the emergence of an emotion.

In everyday life, these difficulties prevent children to expand reciprocal social relationships of quality with their friends and peers during primary education period, and this situation gets worse during the High School period if the necessary intervention is not carried out.

Several studies have attempted to assess the real emotional competence of these children. However, most of these studies have focused on the evaluation of partial or simple aspects of the emotional competence, or they are based on the opinion of parents/teachers, who are only able to see the child in a particular context. Therefore, there is a need to provide psychoeducational professionals with an effective and low cost tool to evaluate comprehensively this important area.

The technological advancement of society has led to the generation of different tools coming from the field of Information Technology and Communication (ICT) to compensate the difficulties of children with ASD, because they are the best adapted to their processing information style. In addition, the ICT equipment in schools has increased exponentially as an indicator of quality and improvement in the teaching / learning processes. However, existing materials do not include the assessment of emotional competence in a comprehensive manner, and the software used is sometimes complex to difficult and install.

In this sense, the use of mobile applications in the field of assessment and evaluation of people has recently been promoting in our society, as they include a powerful motivational component. Nevertheless, many of them are designed for commercial purposes and they lack of educational purposes. Therefore, there is a need to design a complete tool (provided of scientific and theoretical basis) that can be used by professionals to effectively assess emotional competence of children with ASD (and with other children who present emotional difficulties).

For all these reasons, a mobile application for assessing emotional competence in a comprehensive way was developed, basing its structure on previous emotional development studies in typical and atypical population. So, this mobile application is addressed to assess children with suspected difficulties in emotional competence (e.g. with ASD), and it uses a funny method of assessment, including drawings and different levels of difficulty. Furthermore, it was validated and standardized in population without difficulties aged between 3 and 10 years-old.

The mobile application is expected to be a motivating environment (for children), and an easy test to be downloaded and used (by professionals of psycho-educational sector). Also, it will be translated into different languages ​​(Spanish, Catalan and English). Finally, this application will be shared with professionals and associations such as schools, school psycho-educational services, parent associations, and so forth.
Emotional competence, assessment, children, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ASD, mobile app.