Interactive fruit panel (IFP): a tangible serious game for children with special needs to learn an alternative communication system

  • Iván Durango
  • Alicia Carrascosa
  • Jose A. GalludEmail author
  • Victor M. R. Penichet
Long Paper


After several months working with Mateo, a child with special needs, the therapist of the Early Childhood Treatment Center (ECTC) was astonished by how the child correctly associated the fruits with the corresponding pictograms. This was after only a few sessions using the interactive fruit panel presented in this article. The interactive application described in this article is a way to digitize a game commonly used by ECTC therapists to help children to associate real objects (fruits in this case) with their graphical representation (pictogram) in a therapeutic activity using real objects as the interactive basis. This article describes the proposed system and analyzes the results obtained from a pilot test with real participants in collaboration with professionals from ECTC. Moreover, an empirical research has been conducted to study the benefits of the alternative communication system. The experimental research results show how the interactive panel helps children with special needs to achieve learning goals more quickly and how it enhances their attention.


Early childhood intervention Special needs Child–computer interaction Serious games Tangible computer interface 



Special thanks to the Asprodiq Childhood Development and Early Intervention Centre of Toledo (Spain). This project has been partially supported by the UCLM Grant ref. 01110G4003.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iván Durango
    • 1
  • Alicia Carrascosa
    • 1
  • Jose A. Gallud
    • 1
    Email author
  • Victor M. R. Penichet
    • 1
  1. 1.Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Informática de AlbaceteUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain

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