vSked: Evaluation of a System to Support Classroom Activities for Children with Autism by Sen Hirano, Michael Yeganyan, Gabriela Marcu, David Nguyen, and Gillian Hayes accepted for CHI 2010.
Visual schedules—the use of symbols to represent a series of activities or steps—have been successfully used by caregivers to help children with autism to understand, structure, and predict activities in their daily lives. We conducted in-depth fieldwork and participatory design sessions, through which we developed vSked, an interactive and collaborative visual scheduling system designed for elementary school classrooms. We evaluated vSked in situ in one autism-specific classroom over three weeks. In this paper, we present the design principles, technical solution, and results from this successful deployment. Use of vSked resulted in reductions in staff effort required to use visual supports. vSked also resulted in improvements in the perceived quality and quantity of communication and social interactions in the classroom.