Designing Video Games and Interactive Applications to Enhance Learning in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders that can be highly variable in their intensity and in the types of symptoms displayed among different people. Over the years, various intervention techniques using computer-based or computer-assisted therapy have been explored to help individuals with autism in their everyday lives. This paper proposes a set of special guidelines for developing computer-based interactive applications and games to assist learning in children on the autism spectrum. The guidelines proposed here form a framework of interactive and adaptive techniques to be employed in designing computer games and applications that can be used to enhance various aspects of learning and development in children on the autism spectrum. These guidelines are based on the learning activities and other peer-to-peer interactions employed by teachers in inclusive classrooms which help optimize learning in a classroom environment. Other sources of game design considerations include prior research on the limitations encountered by children with ASD in motion, sensory perception, communication and cognition. Prior and ongoing research relating to their abilities in these particular areas are also utilized in this study as important factors in designing the interactive applications and games. Lastly, studies regarding the use of technologies and augmented communication devices are used to help outline the necessary mediums of delivery for the games and applications. The guidelines created in this study are introduced to parents and researchers of children on the autism spectrum through a survey in which these participants are asked to evaluate the techniques and technologies presented in this paper. This research delves into one of the new areas of exploration that have a huge potential in intervention techniques for children with ASD. It is expected that the outlines developed here will offer helpful insight into design and development for future efforts and advancements in gaming technologies for children with ASD.