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The Transporters is an animation series produced by Catalyst Pictures Ltd designed to help children with autism aged between two to eight years old recognise and understand emotions.
The Transporters is based on the idea that children with autism may find faces confusing because they are unpredictable, because the autistic brain cannot cope with unpredictability. In Baron-Cohen's theory, children with autism are strong 'systemizers' and faces are hard to systemize. In contrast, children with autism have a preference for predictable systems. The Transporters therefore focuses on mechanical vehicles that only travel along tracks, because they are highly predictable systems. Grafted onto these animated vehicles are human faces. In this way, social skills teaching takes place in an autism friendly format.
A study  published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that after watching the DVD for 15 minutes a day for four weeks most children with ASC (autistic spectrum condition) caught up with typically developing children in their ability to recognise emotions on four different tasks.
The Transporters DVD consists of 15 five-minute episodes, each featuring a key emotion. There are also 30 interactive quizzes and an accompanying booklet to reinforce learning. In 2007, the series was nominated for a BAFTA award.
The series features eight animated toy vehicles. Each has an actual human face so that viewers learn to recognise real rather than cartoon expressions. All the expressions were verified by an independent panel before they were included in the series.
The Transporters was originally commissioned by Culture Online, which was part of the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
- The Transporters' Happy Day
- Sally's Sad Day
- Nigel's Slow Day
- Charlie Saves the Day
- A Very Exciting Day
- Jennie's Smelly Adventure
- Barney's Special Day
- William's Scrapyard Nightmare
- Charlie's Missed School Run
- Oliver The Kind Funicular
- Slow Down Nigel!
- The Great Race
- Why Can't I Be Somebody Else?
- Playing Around
- Jennie's Difficult Day