Sunday, March 22, 2009

Establishing Joint Attention with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders using the HP TouchSmart PC and NUI Suite Snowflake Software

I've been using my HP TouchSmart PC at work with students with disabilities. I'm experimenting with the NUI Suite SnowFlake on my TouchSmart.

The software utilizes a plug-in from NextWindow that allows for more than one touch on the screen at a time. I found that interacting with the Particles application delighted
students with severe autism.

I found that many of the activities included in the Snowlake software provided opportunities for the students to establish joint attention. I also noticed an increase in the number of vocalizations and/or verbalizations among the students. Of course, this was NOT a scientific study.

NUI Suite Snowflake Multi-Touch Applications (Demonstrated on a touch-table, but the effect is similar on the HP TouchSmart.)

Note: The Particle application starts at 3:00 - the demo is set to show how it could be used as a social activity in a bar, but it is clear to see the possibilities for use with students.

Update: Here is the SnowFlake application running on a TouchSmart:

More about the HP TouchSmart PC in education:
Interacting and Communicating with HP TouchSmart Notes: Photos, Video, Audio, and More

Joint Attention:

Definition of Joint Attention from UConn:
"Joint Attention is the process of sharing one’s experience of observing an object or event, by following gaze or pointing gestures. It is critical for social development, language acquisition, cognitive development…"

Establishing joint attention is an important step in the development of social interaction skills among young people who have autism spectrum disorders.

Joint Attention Study Has Implication for Understanding Autism Science Daily, 9/29/07
Asperger-Advice: Joint Attention
Autism Games: Joint Attention and Reciprocity
Why is joint attention a pivotal skill in autism?
Tony Charman
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 February 28; 358(1430): 315–324.
doi: 10.1098/rstb.2002.1199.

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