Designing playful sensory experiences with interactive whiteboard technology: the implications for children on the autistic spectrum
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This paper continues my research interest in the experiential capacity of computation (see Outputs 1 and 2) and moves the focus to the capacity of digital media to encourage greater bodily awareness in autistic children. This paper documents part of the Reactive Colours design research project which, with the support of National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts awards totalling £182,000, has been developing customisable software, called ReacTickles©, to engage the unique sensory interests of children on the autistic spectrum. It focuses upon how the ReacTickles© software is being used on interactive whiteboards with young autistic children in a number of UK schools. Whereas the conventional view maintains that educational technology should be interactive in a functional sense, requiring the user to complete pre-defined tasks, ReacTickles© offers tangible interfaces as an embodied play activity. The benefit of this approach, I argue, is that it elicits outward expression of inner sensation. The interactive whiteboard removes the necessity to manage motor control in a confined space and, in so doing, reduces the impediment to bodily expression created by the limited spaces of traditional interfaces. The importance of this embodied interactivity is that it encourages greater bodily awareness in autistic children who experience distorted or even disconnected relationship with their body due to proprioceptive and vestibular sensory disorders. The paper was peer-reviewed for publication in the conference proceedings.
EAD 07 7th Design Conference - Dancing with Disorder; Design, Discourse and Disaster, , pp.13
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