Interactive Visual Supports for Children with Autism

Gillian R. Hayes, Sen Hirano, Gabriela Marcu, Mohamad Monibi, David H. Nguyen, and Michael Yeganyan

Interventions to support children with autism often include the use of visual supports, which are cognitive tools to enable learning and the production of language. Although visual supports are effective in helping to diminish many of the challenges of autism, they are difficult and time-consuming to create, distribute, and use. In this paper, we present the results of a qualitative study focused on uncovering design guidelines for interactive visual supports that would address the many challenges inherent to current tools and practices. We present three prototype systems that address these design challenges with the use of large group displays, mobile personal devices, and personal recording technologies. We also describe the interventions associated with these prototypes along with the results from two focus group discussions around the interventions. We present further design guidance for visual supports and discuss tensions inherent to their design.

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