Personal and Ubiquitous Computing : Autism and Technology

mardi 6 mars 2012

La revue Personal and Ubiquitous Computing consacre son numéro de février 2012 à l’autisme et aux technologies.

Autism and Technology

1. Hayes G, Karahalios K. Theme issue on autism and technology. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):115-116.

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2. Porayska-Pomsta K, Frauenberger C, Pain H, Rajendran G, Smith T, Menzies R, Foster M, Alcorn A, Wass S, Bernadini S, Avramides K, Keay-Bright W, Chen J, Waller A, Guldberg K, Good J, Lemon O. Developing technology for autism : an interdisciplinary approach. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):117-127.

We present an interdisciplinary methodology for designing interactive multi-modal technology for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). In line with many other researchers in the field, we believe that the key to developing technology in this context is to embrace perspectives from diverse disciplines to arrive at a methodology that delivers satisfactory outcomes for all stakeholders. The ECHOES project provided us with the opportunity to develop a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) environment that facilitates acquisition and exploration of social skills by typically developing (TD) children and children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ECHOES’ methodology and the learning environment rely crucially on multi-disciplinary expertise including developmental psychology, visual arts, human–computer interaction, artificial intelligence, education, and several other cognate disciplines. In this article, we reflect on the methods needed to develop a TEL environment for young users with ASDs by identifying key features, benefits, and challenges of this approach.

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3. Keay-Bright W, Howarth I. Is simplicity the key to engagement for children on the autism spectrum ?. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):129-141.

This article presents a conceptualisation of technologies as simple, ambient forms. By avoiding the tendency to solve problems and by being open to interaction that emerges through repetition and flow, we argue that technology can offer more for people than functionality. When the user is given freedom to discover control without burdensome cognitive demands and the fear of failure, even everyday technologies can arouse curiosity and thus reveal untapped ability. What is unique about our work is its therapeutic application as a medium for engaging the most hard to reach children on the autism spectrum. Our theoretical foundations are drawn from the human–computer interaction paradigm of tangible interaction. This is of interest to us as a framework for the study of the physical and sensory manipulation of information. For children with cognitive and developmental delays, discovering a close match between physical control and digital response has proved both rewarding and motivating. The significance of this is illustrated through a range of studies undertaken with children with autism spectrum disorders. These include a mixed group attending a holiday club, a study that introduced keyboard activities to children with poor receptive communication and a case study using an ordinary microphone. The research captures emergent, exploratory interaction with a software application called ReacTickles. The case study uses a specifically customised video coding technique to analyse idiosyncratic interactions that demonstrate the impact of simple, playful interaction on self-esteem and creativity.

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4. Sitdhisanguan K, Chotikakamthorn N, Dechaboon A, Out P. Using tangible user interfaces in computer-based training systems for low-functioning autistic children. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):143-155.

In this paper, the design of a computer-based training (CBT) system for low-functioning autistic children is addressed. The emphasis is on ease-of-use and learning efficiency of CBT systems with different interaction styles, namely the WIMP (Window Icon Menu Pointing Device) and TUI (Tangible User Interface) interaction styles. Two WIMP-based CBT systems with different pointing devices were involved in the study. The first system applied a standard computer mouse as a pointing device, while the second one employed a touch screen instead. For the TUI-based CBT system, a tabletop setting was adopted. Based on the known characteristics of TUI and children with autism, as well as related cognitive and learning theories, the benefits of TUI for low-functioning autistic children have been investigated. Elementary skill teaching was chosen as a case study for performance evaluation of these CBT systems. Empirical results show that the touch-based and TUI-based systems offered much better ease-of-use performance than that of the mouse-based system. Regarding learning efficacy, experimental results show that the TUI-based system achieved higher skill improvement, as compared with the WIMP-based system and a non-computer training method. Some guidelines and suggestions for the design of a TUI-based system for children with autism are summarized.

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5. Hourcade J, Bullock-Rest N, Hansen T. Multitouch tablet applications and activities to enhance the social skills of children with autism spectrum disorders. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):157-168.

In spite of great improvements in early diagnosis and interventions, most children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are unlikely to live independently when they reach adulthood. We have been conducting research on novel computer-based interventions with the goal of promoting social skills. Working with 26 children with ASD, their teachers, and other stakeholders, we have iteratively developed a set of activities based on applications that run on multitouch tablets. Our observations suggest these activities increased pro-social behaviors such as collaboration and coordination, augmented appreciation for social activities, and provided children with novel forms of expression.

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6. Westeyn T, Abowd G, Starner T, Johnson J, Presti P, Weaver K. Monitoring children’s developmental progress using augmented toys and activity recognition. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):169-191.

Previous research has established the connection between the way in which children interact with objects and the potential early identification of children with autism. Those findings motivate our own work to develop " smart toys ," objects embedded with wireless sensors that are safe and enjoyable for very small children, that allow detailed interaction data to be easily recorded. These sensor-enabled toys provide opportunities for autism research by reducing the effort required to collect and analyze a child’s interactions with objects. In the future, such toys may be a useful part of clinical and in-home assessment tools. In this paper, we discuss the design of a collection of smart toys that can be used to automatically characterize the way in which a child is playing. We use statistical models to provide objective, quantitative measures of object play interactions. We also developed a tool to view rich forms of annotated play data for later analysis. We report the results of recognition experiments on more than fifty play sessions conducted with adults and children as well as discuss the opportunities for using this approach to support video annotation and other applications.

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7. Nazneen N, Rozga A, Romero M, Findley A, Call N, Abowd G, Arriaga R. Supporting parents for in-home capture of problem behaviors of children with developmental disabilities. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):193-207.

Ubiquitous computing has shown promise in applications for health care in the home. In this paper, we focus on a study of how a particular ubicomp capability, selective archiving, can be used to support behavioral health research and practice. Selective archiving technology, which allows the capture of a window of data prior to and after an event, can enable parents of children with autism and related disabilities to record video clips of events leading up to and following an instance of problem behavior. Behavior analysts later view these video clips to perform a functional assessment. In contrast to the current practice of direct observation, a powerful method to gather data about child problem behaviors but costly in terms of human resources and liable to alter behavior in the subjects, selective archiving is cost effective and has the potential to provide rich data with minimal instructions to the natural environment. To assess the effectiveness of parent data collection through selective archiving in the home, we developed a research tool, CRAFT (Continuous Recording And Flagging Technology) and conducted a study by installing CRAFT in eight households of children with developmental disabilities and severe behavior concerns. The results of this study show the promise and remaining challenges for this technology. We have also shown that careful attention to the design of a ubicomp system for use by other domain specialists or non-technical users is key to moving ubicomp research forward.

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8. Kientz J. Embedded capture and access : encouraging recording and reviewing of data in the caregiving domain. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing ;2012 ;16(2):209-221.

The use of ubiquitous computing to aid in the capture of everyday experiences has been a commonly studied application area. Previous systems have enabled the capture of classroom lectures, meetings, or surgical procedures. However, many of these systems saw infrequent access to captured data, mostly because accessing the data required a high-need situation in order to go through the trouble of finding the specific situation. We believe that if access was made more ubiquitous, people would be more inclined to use it. In this article, we present the notion of embedded capture and access, which aims to make both data capture and access ubiquitous, thus encouraging better reflection on captured data. We provide a description of the notion of embedded capture and access and describe how we applied this technique to two domains of caregivers : therapists working with individuals with autism and parents collecting developmental data on their young children. Through the development of fully functional prototypes, we were able to show that technologies using embedded capture and access are a successful means to supporting data recording and review.

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