Combining Speech Intervention and Cooperative Game Design for Children with ASD

Lyon Natalie Leitman David I. Zhu Jichen
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

The design of the digital game Feeling Factory explores how to combine systematic Autism intervention structures with play-centric game design in the area of prosodic speech therapy. The goal of the game is to improve emotional and grammatical, productive and receptive prosody in high-functioning children with ASD. Feeling Factory uses a two-player cooperative game that allows children with ASD to practice prosody with another person mediated by a game. This structure motivates practice of speech skills within the context of a live conversation partner, a key challenge for Autism intervention, and combines interventionist exercise with digitally mediated gameplay. A user study was conducted consisting of semi-structured interviews with a panel of seven experts and five children with ASD to help determine the potential benefits of this design model. The study resulted in a high recommendation from both groups, especially regarding the two-player cooperative game mechanics.


Using Interactive Social Story Games to Teach Social Skills to Children with Autism

Zhu Jichen Kerns Connor M. Connell James Lyon Natalie
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This paper presents interactive social stories (ISS) for teaching social skills to children on the autism spectrum. Using interactive narrative techniques, we enhance the traditional intervention of Social Stories in order to facilitate exploration and potentially promote stimulus generalization. Using this approach, we designed a tablet-based ISS game called FriendStar to teach 9-13 year old children with autism the social skills of greeting in the school context. The results of our user study show that both health professionals and children with their caregivers reacted positively to FriendStar. Most notably, both groups respond favorably to the ability of making mistakes and correcting them in the game.