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The evaluation of the cognitive and language abilities of autistic children with interactive game technology based on the PEP-3 scale

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Evaluation is crucial in the treatment of autistic children. The Psychoeducational Profile -Third Edition (PEP-3) is a standardized scale used to evaluate the development of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, as a traditional scale, the PEP-3 relies highly on the experience of the evaluator, and the evaluation process is complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, based on the PEP-3, this study aimed to use touchscreen and speech recognition technology to develop a set of human–computer interaction (HCI) games for the evaluation of the cognitive and language abilities of children with ASD. The study consisted of three parts: construct evaluation of the items and games, calibration and validation of the games, and cross-validation of the games. A total of 45 ASD children were recruited. They were divided into two groups: the calibration/validation group and the cross-validation group. The calibration/validation group was used to test the feasibility of the evaluation games. The cross-validation group was used to validate the effectiveness of the evaluation games. The results showed (1) the HCI evaluation games were a supportive tool to evaluate the cognitive and language ability of children with ASD; (2) there was a high agreement between the HCI evaluation games and the PEP-3, and the evaluation based on the HCI evaluation games reflected the evaluation results of the PEP-3; and (3) compared to the PEP-3, the HCI evaluation games saved time and were objective and attractive. Overall, our findings demonstrated that the HCI evaluation games were an effective means for evaluation and encourage future work in exploring technology-based methods for evaluating children with ASD.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under (grant number 61977027), in part by the Hubei Province Technological Innovation Major Project under (grant number 2019AAA044), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant number 2021M692472) and Science &Technology Major Project of Hubei Province (Next-Generation AI Technologies) (grant number 2021BEA159).

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by [Xiaodi Liu], [Jingying Chen], [Kun Zhang], [Xuan Wang], [Guangshuai Wang] and [Rujing Zhang]. The first draft of the manuscript was written by [Xiaodi Liu] and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jingying Chen.

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The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose. The authors have no competing interests to declare that are relevant to the content of this article. All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest or nonfinancial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. The authors have no financial or proprietary interests in any material discussed in this article.

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Liu, X., Chen, J., Zhang, K. et al. The evaluation of the cognitive and language abilities of autistic children with interactive game technology based on the PEP-3 scale. Educ Inf Technol 27, 12027–12047 (2022).

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