Enhancing social communication of children with high-functioning autism through a co-located interface

Eynat Gal, Nirit Bauminger, Dina Goren-Bar, Fabio Pianesi, Oliviero Stock, Massimo Zancanaro, Patrice L. Tamar Weiss

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    97 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    This study evaluated the effectiveness of a 3-week intervention in which a co-located cooperation enforcing interface, called StoryTable, was used to facilitate collaboration and positive social interaction for six children, aged 8-10 years, with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The intervention focused on exposing pairs of children to an enforced collaboration paradigm while they narrated a story. Pre- and post-intervention tasks included a 'low technology' version of the storytelling device and a non storytelling play situation using a free construction game. The outcome measure was a structured observation scale of social interaction. Results demonstrated progress in three areas of social behaviors. First, the participants were more likely to initiate positive social interaction with peers after the intervention. Second, the level of shared play of the children increased from the pre-test to the post-test and they all increased the level of collaboration following the intervention. Third, the children with ASD demonstrated lower frequencies of autistic behaviors while using the StoryTable in comparison to the free construction game activity. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the effectiveness of this intervention for higher functioning children with ASD.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-84
    Number of pages10
    JournalAI and Society
    Volume24
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Acknowledgments This work has been supported by the ITC (now FBK), Trento-University of Haifa Agreement and by the association Cure Autism Now. We want to thank the ‘‘Dror’’ classes at Mesilot School in Israel and all the people involved in the project, in particular Chanan Gazit, Meir Shachar, Noam Sachs, Noa Gilad, Alessandro Cappelletti, Jenni Woskoboynikov and Galit Agam.

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