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Title: Methods for supporting participatory design with children with autism spectrum conditions
Author: Millen, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 6795
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Computer technology is widely recognised as holding benefits for supporting the needs and learning of children with autism spectrum conditions (ASe) and children with ASC are often drawn to technology. As a result, software developed specifically for children with ASC is on the increase. Participatory design is an established concept that is recognised as important to the production of technology and software that meets the needs of the end-user. However, children with ASC are rarely involved in the technology design process. Children with ASC often find face-to-face communication and social interaction difficult and may have limited motivation and attention span alongside other challenges that may prevent them being involved in the design of technology. Many user-centred design activities are heavily dependent on communication and social interaction with others. Oue to these challenges, few technology projects have involved children with autism and therefore there are no guidelines that development teams can draw upon, so creating a vicious circle of non-participation. In addition, children with ASC are often motivated by using computer technology and prefer computer-based interactions. However there has been no research that to date that has explored the potential of a technological tool for supporting PO with this user-group. This thesis investigates whether it is possible to support the involvement of child ren with ASC through the adaptation of participatory design methods. Adapted paper-based methods were evaluated with typically developing children and children with ASC in five case studies. The outcomes of the case studies informed the deSign of two collaborative virtual environments (CVE) tools for supporting PO sessions with children with ASC that were evaluated in school-based studies. The results of this research suggests that children with ASC can be involved in PO to varying levels as long as methods have been carefully prepared and adapted to suit their needs. The research offers practical guidelines to the technology design community for conducting PO sessions with children with ASC. In addition, the CVEs developed for supporting PO show potential as students enjoyed using the technology and were able to contribute design ideas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available