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

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Investigating A Virtual Tutor Approach Cape

  1. 1. Paul Herring, Dr Kieron Sheehy and Dr Roger Jones Investigating a ‘virtual tutor’ approach for improving the communication skills of children with autism
  2. 2. Autism and the triad of impairments
  3. 3. Diagnosis and beyond <ul><li>On average children with autism are diagnosed from about 3 years old (Baron-Cohen, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Access to interventions is often delayed until the child enters the education system </li></ul><ul><li>Current research suggests early intervention increases the chances of a positive prognosis in later life (Wetherby & Woods, 2006) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  5. 5. The advantages of PECS <ul><li>the communication exchange is easily understood by communicator and communication partner </li></ul><ul><li>the communication is meaningful and highly motivating for the child with autism </li></ul><ul><li>PECS has been shown to promote spontaneous symbol communication </li></ul>Bondy & Frost, (1995)
  6. 6. Are there any benefits to Computer based teaching methods? <ul><li>Improved attention and motivation </li></ul><ul><li>curiosity and length of time spent on a subject </li></ul><ul><li>promote spontaneous commenting </li></ul><ul><li>A reduction in echolalia and inappropriate behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Williams et al (2002) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Computer Assisted Picture Exchange (CAPE) <ul><li>Provide avatar led teaching environment to teach symbol based communication to children with autism </li></ul><ul><li>Allow participants to interact with CAPE using physical symbols as a method of participant input </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an easy to use and engaging environment for children with autism </li></ul>
  8. 8. The CAPE prototype interface
  9. 9. CAPE user testing
  10. 10. Future Work <ul><li>A preliminary study to understand how an avatar’s voice type may influence participant engagement </li></ul><ul><li>A five week study to understand if CAPE can enhance symbol based communication for children with autism </li></ul>
  11. 11. Thank you for listening
  12. 12. References <ul><li>Baron-Cohen, S. (2008). Making the diagnosis. Autism and Asperger syndrome. Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press , Pp 37 </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Gong, L. Lai, J. (2003). &quot;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.&quot; International Journal of Speech Technology 6(2): 123-131. </li></ul><ul><li>Wetherby, A. Woods, J. (2006). &quot;Early Social Interaction Project for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Beginning in the Second Year of Life: A Preliminary Study.&quot; Topics in Early Childhood Special Education 26(2): 67-82. </li></ul><ul><li>Williams, C. Wright, B. Callaghan, G. Coughlan, B. (2002). &quot;Do children with autism learn to read more readily by computer assisted instruction or traditional book methods? A pilot study.&quot; Autism 6(1): 71-91. </li></ul>

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