MyWord: Enhancing engagement, interaction and self-expression with minimally-verbal children on the autism spectrum through a personal audio-visual dictionary

Cara Wilson, Margot Brereton, Bernd Ploderer, Laurianne Sitbon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Digital technologies to support children on the autism spectrum often offer predefined content for modelling, communicating and training. However, children may not relate to the content, and it may not match their own personal interests and motivations. This paper investigates the use of MyWord, an interest-based, child-led technology, as an exploratory probe. This audio-visual dictionary app supports a child to build their own personalised catalogue of favourite words, images and audio over time. We undertook a field study over two school terms in an autismspecific primary school with 12 minimally-verbal children aged 5 to 8 and their teachers and speech therapists. Findings indicate that creating dictionary entries involved processes of personal choice, representation of the self and interests, and dynamic action and play. Use of personally and contextually relevant words enhanced engagement, interaction and self-expression. We contribute a novel, flexible, interest-based technology, and reflections on its use in autism-specific school contexts. We highlight the importance of the child's lived experience and holistic child-led approaches to technology design.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIDC 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages106-118
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450351522
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2018
Event17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2018 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 19 Jun 201822 Jun 2018

Conference

Conference17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2018
Country/TerritoryNorway
CityTrondheim
Period19/06/1822/06/18

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • audio-visual dictionary
  • autism
  • child-centred
  • child-led
  • classroom interaction
  • engagement
  • interest-based technology
  • motivation
  • self-expression

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