Mobile Games for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Support Positive Behavioural Skills

  • Shin Wey TanEmail author
  • Muhammad Haziq Lim Abdullah
  • Nor Farah Naquiah Mohd Daud
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS, volume 67)


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the fastest growing disorders around the world. The increasing rate of occurrence in Malaysia is estimated to occur in 1 of every 625 children and has since become a great concern to the community. Due to insufficient resources to cater for the autism education services, ineffective teaching strategy, and inadequate good positive behavioural support, this work is initiated as a means of solution to aid this issue. Findings of how a mobile games application, “Safe and Sound” featuring personalisation avatar can foster autistic children’s positive behaviour in social practices aspect are reported in this paper. Mobile game applications are used to trigger the children’s imagination for cognitive development as it is expected to become reliable to support content for the children to learn and apply in real situations. This analysis is entirely focused on interactions in schools by examining data from classroom activities. Three findings were revealed: (i) Personalised avatar can trigger children with ASD interest, (ii) Personalised avatar can promote emotions and feelings among children with ASD, and (iii) Avatar can facilitate social interaction among children with ASD. Thus, mobile games that incorporate personalised avatar can support children with ASD, especially to facilitate their positive behavioural skills.


Autism spectrum disorder ASD Children Mobile games Socialisation Behaviour Personalisation Emotion Avatar 



I would like to acknowledge my faculty, Fakulti Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi (FTMK) and express my deepest gratitude to the academic staff from The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM Melaka) for their time and assistance in the trial process of this project. Not to forget, the participants who are involved and their willingness to take part in this project trial. The authors would also like to acknowledge Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Center for Advance Computing Technology (C-ACT), Specialists in Special Needs Awareness and Research (SPEAR) Group and Applied Oriented Research Grant (OARG)-PJP/2017/FTMK-CACT/S01567 for supporting and encouraging this research.


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM).
  3. 3.
    Gomez R (2016) Autism Awareness in Malaysia. Early Autism Project.
  4. 4.
    Azizan H (2008) The burden of autism. The star online. = %2F2008%2F4%2F27%2Ffocus%2F21080181&sec = focus
  5. 5.
    Hani H, Abu-Wandi R (2015) DISSERO mobile application for AUTISTIC children’s. In: Proceedings of the international conference on intelligent information processing, security and advanced communication pp 90Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boyd LE, Ringland KE, Haimson OL, Fernandez H, Bistarkey M, Hayes GR (2015) Evaluating a collaborative iPad game’s impact on social relationships for children with autism spectrum disorder. ACM Trans. Accessible Comput. (TACCESS) 7(1):3Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Saridaki M, Mourlas C (2016) Playing in the special education school: from gamers to game designersGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Teach Thought (2012) A brief history of video games in education.
  9. 9.
    Bertolo M, Mariani I (2013) Game and play as means for learning experiences. INTED 2013 Proceedings. pp 698–707Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ardamerinos G, Shevchuk H, Smith J (2015) Investigating the use of collaborative technology in autism therapyGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cannon-Bowers J (Ed.) (2010) Serious game design and development: technologies for training and learning: technologies for training and learning. IGI globalGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hasselbring TS, Glaser CHW (2000) Use of computer technology to help students with special needs. Future Child. pp 102–122Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zhu J, Connell J, Kerns C, Lyon N, Vecere N, Lim D, Myers C (2014) Toward interactive social stories for children with autism. In Proceedings of the first ACM SIGCHI annual symposium on Computer-human interaction in play, pp 453–454Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Andrade A, de Carvalho CV (2013) Gamifying a serious games community. In: International conference on computer, networks and communication engineering, pp 249–252Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eder MS, Diaz JML, Madela JRS, Mag-usara MU, Sabellano DDM (2016) Fill me app: an interactive mobile game application for children with Autism. Int J Interact. Mobile Technol. (iJIM) 10(3):59–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hiniker A, Daniels JW, Williamson H (2013) Go go games: therapeutic video games for children with autism spectrum disorders. In: Proceedings of the 12th international conference on interaction design and children. pp 463–466Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ying KT, Sah SBM, Abdullah MHL (2016) Personalised avatar on social stories and digital storytelling: Fostering positive behavioural skills for children with autism spectrum disorder. In: The 4th international conference on user science and engineering (i-USEr) 2016, pp 253–258Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cheng Y, Ye J (2010) Exploring the social competence of students with autism spectrum conditions in a collaborative virtual learning environment–the pilot study. Comput Educ 54(4):1068–1077CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Carter EJ, Hyde J, Williams DL, Hodgins JK (2016) Investigating the influence of avatar facial characteristics on the social behaviors of children with autism. In: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 140–151Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Abdullah MHL, Brereton M (2012) A child led participatory approach for technology-based intervention. In: 2012 participatory innovation conference digital proceedings, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Konstantinidis EI, Hitoglou-Antoniadou M, Luneski A, Bamidis PD, Nikolaidou MM (2009) Using affective avatars and rich multimedia content for education of children with autism. In: Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on pervasive technologies related to assistive environments, pp 58Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Autism Speaks (2015) Animator’s digital avatars to help kids with autism ease anxiety.
  23. 23.
    Hughes D (2014) The design and evaluation of a video game to help train perspective-taking and empathy in children with autism spectrum disorderGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fabri M, Elzouki SYA, Moore D (2007) Emotionally expressive avatars for chatting, learning and therapeutic intervention. In: International conference on human-computer interaction, pp 275–285Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Abdullah MHL, Brereton M (2017) Mycalendar: supporting children on the autism spectrum to learn language and appropriate behaviour. In: Proceedings of the 29th Australian conference on computer-human interaction, pp 201–209Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Abdullah MHL, Brereton M (2015) MyCalendar: fostering communication for children with autism spectrum disorder through photos and videos. In: Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Australian special interest group for computer human interaction, pp 1–9Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shin Wey Tan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Muhammad Haziq Lim Abdullah
    • 1
  • Nor Farah Naquiah Mohd Daud
    • 1
  1. 1.Fakulti Teknologi Maklumat Dan Komunikasi (FTMK)Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM)MelakaMalaysia

Personalised recommendations