Autism is a developmental disability with no clear cause. Most experts believe that Autism manifests itself genetically and has no cure. The condition’s full name is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), meaning that there is a near-infinite amount of iterations of levels of severity/functionality, but the varying levels are commonly classified into distinct spectrums of the degree of severity. The two most common forms of Autism are the Autistic Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome and feature the following symptoms:
The aims and focus of the project
This project seeks to add to the e-Motion suite of games for children diagnosed with Autism and Asperger’s, as developed previously. However, your focus can fall upon any learning disability/ difficulty. The goal is to develop a series of stimulating and meaningful solutions to enhance the children’s overall learning experience (if the solutions can be multifunctional, it’s even better). You will need to work with your target audience in mind in order to attain the best possible results.
HOW WE HELPED
Our objective: to create an app that helps not just Autistic children but any child that has difficulty expressing and reading emotions.
WHAT WE DID
Before an Autistic child can play a game, the need to see how it’s played. So here they click to see how each level is played before they begin. As well they get introduced to the emotions first - here we applying the Simultaneous Discrimination method. On the home page you can click for help to look at tutorial if one child needs another look.
The application consists of a very simplistic home screen. It has been designed to entail only three options such that the prospective user does not have too much to choose from. The overall engagement with the application has been optimized for the need of autistic children. Play will direct the user to the emotion introduction when pressing it for the first time. Beyond this, play allows the user to resume to their last position in the game.
The user is able to select a level of the game that they would like to play at this point. The user has a choice between for levels, each of which can be explained in the help section. When choosing level 1 for the first time, the user will be directed to the introduction page. Beyond this, the user will simply be directed to whichever level they choose.
The user can watch short tutorial videos based on each level of the game to get an understanding of not only how to play but how to navigate the interface.
INTRO TO EXPRESSIONS
The introduction to the game is intended to give the user a basic understanding of what specific facial expressions look like in relation to the written terms ‘happy’, ‘sad’, and angry. The user arrives at this screen after selecting “play” from the home screen for the first time, or by selecting “level 1” from the level section page. In total, 9 faces with the various expressions will appear at this stage, each being a different gender, race and/or age such that the child understands that anyone can have these facial expressions. The user navigates through each page with the arrows that appear on either side of the images.
The first level of the game is an activity in which the user has to match the given emotion to the corresponding facial expression. Ten facial expression images will always appear in groups of the two for the user to decide between. For the functionality, the word below will have to be dragged to the correct facial expression
Positive reinforcement will be used whether the user gets it right or not, e.g. “Well done!” or “Try again!” This will be done so that the user continuously feels encouraged to continue rather than giving up.
At this stage the user must select the emotive word corresponding with the given image of a particular facial expression. The user must click one of the two words below. The level will consist ten rounds once again.
This level serves as an introductory level being able to identify possible emotions or expressions during certain events. In this level, the user has to try identify what they are currently feeling during the gameplay by selecting one of the three emotions/facial expressions. Irrespective of what is chosen, the “well done” screen will appear, and the user will progress to level four. The purpose is also to give the user an opportunity express their own feeling during the game play.
During this level, the user has to select the emotion that would correspond with the given event. The facial expressions will appear on either side of the event, and the user must click to select.