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Developing technology for autism: an interdisciplinary approach

An Erratum to this article was published on 03 February 2015

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.

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Notes

  1. The numbers of participants represent the total number of ASDs children and young adults, both with and without ASDs who took part in the respective workshops and studies.

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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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Correspondence to K. Porayska-Pomsta.

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An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-015-0834-3.

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Porayska-Pomsta, K., Frauenberger, C., Pain, H. et al. Developing technology for autism: an interdisciplinary approach. Pers Ubiquit Comput 16, 117–127 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-011-0384-2

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Keywords

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