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Investigating A Virtual Tutor Approach Cape

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Investigating a ‘virtual tutor’ approach for improving the communication skills of children with autism, presented to ALT-C 2009 Manchester University, 8th September 2009

Investigating a ‘virtual tutor’ approach for improving the communication skills of children with autism, presented to ALT-C 2009 Manchester University, 8th September 2009

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    Investigating A Virtual Tutor Approach   Cape Investigating A Virtual Tutor Approach Cape Presentation Transcript

    • Paul Herring, Dr Kieron Sheehy and Dr Roger Jones Investigating a ‘virtual tutor’ approach for improving the communication skills of children with autism
    • Autism and the triad of impairments
    • Diagnosis and beyond
      • On average children with autism are diagnosed from about 3 years old (Baron-Cohen, 2008)
      • Access to interventions is often delayed until the child enters the education system
      • Current research suggests early intervention increases the chances of a positive prognosis in later life (Wetherby & Woods, 2006)
    • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
    • The advantages of PECS
      • the communication exchange is easily understood by communicator and communication partner
      • the communication is meaningful and highly motivating for the child with autism
      • PECS has been shown to promote spontaneous symbol communication
      Bondy & Frost, (1995)
    • Are there any benefits to Computer based teaching methods?
      • Improved attention and motivation
      • curiosity and length of time spent on a subject
      • promote spontaneous commenting
      • A reduction in echolalia and inappropriate behaviour
      • Williams et al (2002)
    • Computer Assisted Picture Exchange (CAPE)
      • Provide avatar led teaching environment to teach symbol based communication to children with autism
      • Allow participants to interact with CAPE using physical symbols as a method of participant input
      • Provide an easy to use and engaging environment for children with autism
    • The CAPE prototype interface
    • CAPE user testing
    • Future Work
      • A preliminary study to understand how an avatar’s voice type may influence participant engagement
      • A five week study to understand if CAPE can enhance symbol based communication for children with autism
    • Thank you for listening
    • References
      • Baron-Cohen, S. (2008). Making the diagnosis. Autism and Asperger syndrome. Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press , Pp 37
      • Bondy, A. Frost., L. (2002). The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): initial training. A Picture's Worth PECS and Other Visual Communication Strategies in Autism. Bethesda, MD, USA, Woodbine House Inc : 67-90.
      • Gong, L. Lai, J. (2003). "To mix or not to mix synthetic speech and human speech? Contrasting impact on judge-rated task performance versus self-rated performance and attitudinal responses." International Journal of Speech Technology 6(2): 123-131.
      • Wetherby, A. Woods, J. (2006). "Early Social Interaction Project for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Beginning in the Second Year of Life: A Preliminary Study." Topics in Early Childhood Special Education 26(2): 67-82.
      • Williams, C. Wright, B. Callaghan, G. Coughlan, B. (2002). "Do children with autism learn to read more readily by computer assisted instruction or traditional book methods? A pilot study." Autism 6(1): 71-91.