A Communication System on Smart Phones and Tablets for Non-verbal Children with Autism

  • Harini Sampath
  • Bipin Indurkhya
  • Jayanthi Sivaswamy
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7383)


We designed, developed and evaluated an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system, AutVisComm, for children with autism that can run on smart phones and tablets. An iterative design and development process was followed, where the prototypes were developed in close collaboration with the user group, and the usability testing was gradually expanded to larger groups. In the last evaluation stage described here, twenty-four children with autism used AutVisComm to learn to request the desired object. We measured their learning rates and correlated them with their behavior traits (as observed by their teachers) like joint attention, symbolic processing and imitation. We found that their ability for symbolic processing did not correlate with the learning rate, but their ability for joint attention did. This suggests that this system (and this class of AACs) helps to compensate for a lack of symbolic processing, but not for a lack of joint-attention mechanism.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Charlop-Christy, M.H., Carpenter, M., Le, L., LeBlanc, L.A., Kellet, K.: Using the picture exchange communication system (pecs) with children with autism: assessment of pecs acquisition, speech, social-communicative behavior, and problem behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 35(3), 213–221 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dynavox, (last accessed January 24, 2012)
  3. 3.
    VantageLite, (last accessed January 24, 2012)
  4. 4.
    Gatti, N., Matteucci, M., Sbattella, L.: An Adaptive and Predictive Environment to Support Augmentative and Alternative Communication. In: Miesenberger, K., Klaus, J., Zagler, W.L., Burger, D. (eds.) ICCHP 2004. LNCS, vol. 3118, pp. 983–990. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Schadle, I.: Sibyl: AAC System Using NLP Techniques. In: Miesenberger, K., Klaus, J., Zagler, W.L., Burger, D. (eds.) ICCHP 2004. LNCS, vol. 3118, pp. 1009–1015. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Black, R., Reddington, J., Reiter, E., Tintarev, N., Waller, A.: Using nlg and sensors to support personal narrative for children with complex communication needs. In: Proceedings of the NAACL HLT 2010 Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies, SLPAT 2010 (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shinohara, K., Wobbrock, J.O.: In the shadow of misperception: assistive technology use and social interactions. In: Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2011 (2011)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sennott, S., Bowker, A.: Autism, aac, and proloquo2go. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication 18(4), 137–145 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    iAugComm, (last accessed January 24, 2012)
  10. 10.
    Light, J., Wilkinson, K., Drager, K.: Designing effective aac systems:research evidence and implications for practice. In: ASHA 2008 (2008)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hirano, S.H., Yeganyan, M.T., Marcu, G., Nguyen, D.H., Boyd, L.A., Hayes, G.R.: vsked: evaluation of a system to support classroom activities for children with autism. In: Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2010, pp. 1633–1642 (2010)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Alcorn, A., Pain, H., Rajendran, G., Smith, T., Lemon, O., Porayska-Pomsta, K., Foster, M.E., Avramides, K., Frauenberger, C., Bernardini, S.: Social Communication between Virtual Characters and Children with Autism. In: Biswas, G., Bull, S., Kay, J., Mitrovic, A. (eds.) AIED 2011. LNCS, vol. 6738, pp. 7–14. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Volkmar, F., Cicchetti, D., Dykens, E., Sparrow, S., Leckman, J., Cohen, D.: An evaluation of the autism behavior checklist. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 18(1), 81–97 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Toth, K., Munson, J., Meltzoff, A., Dawson, G.: Early predictors of communication development in young children with autism spectrum disorder: Joint attention, imitation, and toy play. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 36(8) (2006)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Piaget, J.: Play, dreams, and imitation in childhood. Norton, New York (1962)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A.M., Frith, U.: Does the autistic child have a theory of mind. Cognition 21(1), 37–46 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harini Sampath
    • 1
  • Bipin Indurkhya
    • 1
  • Jayanthi Sivaswamy
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute of Information TechnologyHyderabadIndia

Personalised recommendations