E-technologies for autistic children


Autism is a developmental disorder, that influences ability to socialize, communicate as well as learning skills. Autistic children have diverse level of deficits in language understanding, speaking and other areas, that makes the therapy even more difficult. Autism is not only a personal or family matter, but also a social problem, as the number of children diagnosed with autism rises all over the world. Our motivations to develop e-technologies to support autistic children is multidimensional:

  • late diagnosis as well as insufficient or inappropriate therapy may result in the autistic child becomes an adult dependent on the help of the others (and medical and social care is financed form public money),
  • appropriate therapy adjusted to the deficits of an individual, may result in independent life as an adult, including not only daily routines, but also working for the others,
  • e-technologies are customizable, patient and repetitive
  • e-technologies are mobile - can be taken home or to school (in contrast to a therapist),
  • e-technologies support can:
    • enable education outside specialized schools,
    • support parents in education of their autistic children,
    • enable autistic individuals to have an independent life in the society.

Why e-technologies

There are several premises for e-technologies use in therapy and education of autistic children:

  • autistic children are mainly interested in interaction with computers and tablets,
  • computers and applications are predictable and stable (while humans have ticks, facial expressions, and move unpredictably),
  • computers and applications create stable environment, that develops sense of control (and that factor is very important in education of autistic children, especially with verbal communication disorders),
  • tablets and computers are used in autistic children therapy in half of the autism support institutions in Poland,
  • there are many apps dedicated for children with autism and developmental disorders, still some are not appropriate for some individual deficits.

Current projects:

Activity Plans - applications for tablet

  • joint initiative with foundation IWRD in GdaƄsk, Poland, that educates autistic children,
  • application will support behavioral therapy based on method of activity plans,
  • goal: dedicated personal activity plan, designed by a therapist on child's tablet to use in class and take-away home and for holiday,
  • two applications: for a child (player) and for a therapist (editor)
  • students develop the application within group project and will share it under open-source license
  • more information might be found at the project website: autyzm.eti.pg.gda.pl

AUTMON - Automatic monitoring of therapy progress

  • joint initiative with HARIMATA industrial partner and HIPOTERAPIA foundation,
  • aims at development of method for automatic monitoring of therapy progress,
  • measurements based on behavioral patterns of tablet and application usage as well as task progress,
  • measurements will be embedded in educational games dedicated for autistic children,
  • to support therapists in monitoring and reporting children progress.
  • funded by National Center for Research and Development
  • more information might be found at the AUTMON project website: autmon.eti.pg.gda.pl

Past projects:

E-bracelet - optoelectronic support for behavioral therapy of autistic children

  • aims at developing e-bracelet - a bracelet, that visualizes an emotional state of a wearing person - autistic child or therapist or both,
  • optoelectronic methods will be used for monitoring physiological parameters, that provide information on affective state,
  • e-bracelet aims at support for communication between a therapist and a child,
  • e-bracelet aims at support for communication between a therapist and a child,
  • funded by SKILLS program (EU EFS)