Supporting the design contributions of children with autism spectrum conditions

Christopher Frauenberger, Judith Good, Alyssa Alcorn, Helen Pain

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

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper we describe the development of a tool to support the contributions of children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) in a design critique activity. The work is part of the ECHOES project in which we have included children with ASC in a participatory design process to create a technologically enhanced learning environment. We first discuss the general difficulties of involving children with ASC in participatory design work, particularly a socially demanding activity such as design critique. Based on theory from autism research and the results from our own previous design work, we then lay out requirements for a tool to allow children with ASC to become meaningfully involved in a design critique of the ECHOES environment. Subsequently, we describe a prototype of an annotation tool based on these requirements, a pilot study, and feedback elicited from special education teachers. We then report on a study in which seven children with ASC were involved in critiquing a prototype of the ECHOES system using the annotator. In our analysis of the children's annotator use, we found that it served the intended purposes as a visual support, but also that it was appropriated for other means, such as emotional self-regulation. We discuss examples of these different uses and close by asking how these findings could be applied in other contexts where tools are required to facilitate a discourse in design, rather than directly capture its output.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1007-9
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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