Digital Libraries on Handhelds for Autistic Children - CiteSeerX

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Jun 11, 2005 - Gondy Leroy1, Serena Chuang1, John Huang1, Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy2 ... 2Department of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College.

Digital Libraries on Handhelds for Autistic Children Gondy Leroy1, Serena Chuang1, John Huang1, Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy2 1

School of Information Science, Claremont Graduate University 2 Department of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College Claremont, California, USA [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

ABSTRACT Autism is a wide spectrum developmental disorder. Its prevalence has increased enormously. Each autistic child has different needs and requires individual therapy. Information technology can help these children and their families by augmenting therapy and providing communication tools. We are developing a digital library that provides such a communication tool on a Pocket PC. The tool will be integrated into the therapy sessions and the children will be able use it daily. Additionally, all the interactions with the tool are logged, allowing the therapist a detailed view of the effects of therapy on the children’s communication.

Categories and Subject Descriptors H.5.2 [Information Interfaces and Presentations]: User Interfaces – graphical user interfaces (GUI), prototyping, screen design, user-centered design.

General Terms Design, Human Factors

Keywords Interface Design, Handheld, Autism, Communication, Children.

to improving communication skills, PECS-based training may also improve speech [1]. Regrettably, this approach is cumbersome (e.g., folders with images printed on cardboard), stigmatizing, and does not provide usage data. We are developing an image digital library to aid the development of communication skills. We believe that two general guidelines [3] hold especially true for our user group: streamlining, i.e., focus on essential information only, and automating, i.e., removing the need for text or commands. The library on the server contains all the images together with the children’s personal settings and usage data. On the Pocket PC, we store only those images the child uses to communicate as part of our application. The children can then browse and use the images for communication. In addition, we log all usage data. We are using Pocket PCs because they are lightweight and easy to carry around. An often overlooked advantage is that these handheld devices are less stigmatizing than the current system. In addition, by logging user interactions, we provide therapists with a database containing usage data, which they can use to measure the effectiveness of therapy and practice. Centralized Database

1. INTRODUCTION Autism has increased in the U.S. at a staggering rate and it is now the third most prevalent mental disorder in the country. It is characterized by developmental disabilities, extreme withdrawal, lack of social behavior, severe language and attention deficits, and repetitive behaviors. Because of its wide spectrum, therapists need to interact with each child on an individual basis. As a result, the waiting period for those needing therapy can be years. Information technology can efficiently augment therapy and provide better communication tools to autistic children. For example, children respond well to videotaped examples of social interactions, which reinforce treatment, and the results are sustained [2]. We are developing a digital library that contains an image-based communication system and a usage data repository.

2. A DIGITAL LIBRARY FOR AUTISM Autistic children often use pictures, such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), to communicate. For example, they learn to combine the image for “I want” with one for “chocolate” to communicate their desire for chocolate. In addition Copyright is held by the author/owner(s). JCDL’05, June 7–11, 2005, Denver, Colorado, USA ACM 1-58113-876-8/05/0006.

Personalized Digital Library Child A

Update Images User Settings Images Usage Data

Child B

Update Usage Data

Figure 1. System Overview. The digital library will be tested in different phases. Currently, we are evaluating how best to communicate different types of messages to non-autistic people using only images.


M. H. Charlop-Christy, M. Carpenter, L. Le, L. A. LeBlanc, and K. Kellet, “Using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with Children with Autism: Assessment of PECS Acquisition, Speech, Social-Communicative Behavior, and Problem Behavior,” J. of Appl. Beh. Analysis, 2002, 35, 213-231. [2] M. H. Charlop-Christy, L. Le, and K.A. Freeman, “A Comparison of Video Modeling with In Vivo Modeling for Teaching Children with Autism,” J. of Autism and Dev. Dis., 2000, 30, 6,537-552 [3] K. Luchini, C. Quintana, and E. Soloway, “Design Guidelines for Learner-Centered handheld Tools,” In Proc.CHI, Vienna-Austria, 2004, 135-142.

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