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Evaluating the Acceptability and Usability of a Head-Mounted Augmented Reality Approach for Autistic Children with High Support Needs

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Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality (EuroXR 2022)

Abstract

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) are promising to complement practitioners’ interventions with autistic children, but they mainly target the socio-emotional abilities of children with low support needs. For autistic children with high support needs, sensory-based and mediation approaches are advised with AR headsets, to keep contact with their familiar environment and their real practitioner, while VR presents risks of isolation. Yet, the acceptability and usability of AR headsets for these children remains unknown. Thus, this paper investigates the possibility to use AR headsets with Magic Bubbles, a multisensory environment designed for autistic children with high support needs, to reassure them while reinforcing the dyadic relationship with their practitioner. Drawing upon a previous design validation with 11 practitioners, acceptability and usability testings were conducted at a day hospital with 10 children with neurodevelopmental disorders and associated intellectual disability. Findings confirm a positive acceptability and usability for these children, thus validating the possibility to use Magic Bubbles with autistic children with high support needs. At last, future directions regarding the use of AR in clinical settings are outlined.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This paper uses autism stakeholders’ preferences in terms of terminology, e.g., identity first-language, with terms such as “autistic individual” [8].

  2. 2.

    MaxQDA software: https://www.maxqda.com/.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the children who participated to this research and their families, as well as the clinical team of the day hospital André Boulloche for their support. This work is part of the AudioXR4TSA project, funded by the DIM RFSI Ile de France. This work was also supported by French government funding managed by the National Research Agency under the Investments for the Future program (PIA) under grant ANR-21-ESRE-0030/CONTINUUM.

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Bauer, V., Bouchara, T., Duris, O., Labossière, C., Clément, MN., Bourdot, P. (2022). Evaluating the Acceptability and Usability of a Head-Mounted Augmented Reality Approach for Autistic Children with High Support Needs. In: Zachmann, G., Alcañiz Raya, M., Bourdot, P., Marchal, M., Stefanucci, J., Yang, X. (eds) Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality. EuroXR 2022. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13484. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-16234-3_4

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