Design of a Mobile Collaborative Virtual Environment for Autism Intervention
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by deficits in social skills and communications. This paper describes a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) on the Android platform designed to investigate the collaborative behaviors and communication skills of children with ASD. The mobile CVE has the advantages of (1) widespread availability, and (2) allowing flexible communication between people. This presented mobile CVE allows two users in different locations to interact and communicate with each other while playing puzzle games on mobile devices. Multiple puzzle games with different interaction patterns were designed in the environment, including turn-taking, information sharing, and enforced collaboration. Audio and video chat were implemented in the environment in order for the geographically distributed players to talk with and see each other. The usability of the environment has been validated through a user study involving five pairs of subjects. Each pair included one child with ASD and one typically developing (TD) child. The results showed that the presented CVE environment may have the potential to improve players’ collaborative behaviors and communication skills.
KeywordsCollaborative virtual environment Android game Autism intervention
This work was supported in part by the National Institute of Health Grant 1R01MH091102-01A1, National Science Foundation Grant 0967170 and the Hobbs Society Grant from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.
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