, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 172-187
Date: 15 Jul 2008

Engagement with Electronic Screen Media Among Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Abstract

This study investigated the relative engagement potential of four types of electronic screen media (ESM): animated video, video of self, video of a familiar person engaged with an immersive virtual reality (VR) game, and immersion of self in the VR game. Forty-two students with autism, varying in age and expressive communication ability, were randomly assigned to the experimental conditions. Gaze duration and vocalization served as dependent measures of engagement. The results reveal differential responding across ESM, with some variation related to the engagement metric employed. Preferences for seeing themselves on the screen, as well as for viewing the VR scenarios, emerged from the data. While the study did not yield definitive data about the relative engagement potential of ESM alternatives, it does provide a foundation for future research, including guidance related to participant profiles, stimulus characteristics, and data coding challenges.