For many children with autism and other Autism Spectrum Disorders, Thomas the Tank Engine serves as a gateway into the world of understanding emotions. in a
2002 study by the National Autistic Society in the UK, researchers found that some children were able to make significant leaps in emotional development that were previously unimaginable. (You can read more about the study here.)
In the videos, Thomas and the other characters have exaggerated facial expressions which are often set for a relatively long period of time. This allows the child with ASD to relate to the emotions, expressions and feelings of the characters. This is especially valuable for children who have difficulty understanding people and their thoughts and feelings.
Following are some examples of Thomas' facial expressions taken from the videos. Click on each image if you wish to view a larger picture. All images are owned by Hit Entertainment.