Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 117–127 | Cite as

Developing technology for autism: an interdisciplinary approach

  • K. Porayska-Pomsta
  • C. Frauenberger
  • H. Pain
  • G. Rajendran
  • T. Smith
  • R. Menzies
  • M. E. Foster
  • A. Alcorn
  • S. Wass
  • S. Bernadini
  • K. Avramides
  • W. Keay-Bright
  • J. Chen
  • A. Waller
  • K. Guldberg
  • J. Good
  • O. Lemon
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Autism Technology-enhanced intervention Interdisciplinary research Social interactions Social signal processing Autonomous agents 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research reported in this manuscript is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, UK and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK under the Teaching and Learning Research Program—Technology-Enhanced Learning, grant number: RES-139-25-0395. We would like to thank staff, pupils and parents at the following schools: Kaimes School, Edinburgh; The Hollies School, Cardiff; Allfarthing Primary School, London; Chantry Community Primary School, Sussex; Gattons Infants School, Burgess Hill; and Fintry Language Unit, Dundee, Blackness Primary, Dundee.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Porayska-Pomsta
    • 1
  • C. Frauenberger
    • 2
  • H. Pain
    • 4
  • G. Rajendran
    • 3
  • T. Smith
    • 10
  • R. Menzies
    • 5
  • M. E. Foster
    • 6
  • A. Alcorn
    • 4
  • S. Wass
    • 7
  • S. Bernadini
    • 1
  • K. Avramides
    • 1
  • W. Keay-Bright
    • 8
  • J. Chen
    • 4
  • A. Waller
    • 5
  • K. Guldberg
    • 9
  • J. Good
    • 2
  • O. Lemon
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.University of SussexEast SussexUK
  3. 3.University of StrathclydeGlasgowScotland, UK
  4. 4.Edinburgh UniversityEdinburghScotland, UK
  5. 5.University of DundeeDundeeScotland, UK
  6. 6.Heriott Watt UniversityEdinburghScotland, UK
  7. 7.Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, School of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  8. 8.University of Wales InstituteCardiffWales, UK
  9. 9.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  10. 10.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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