Virtual Environment for Autistic Children

Virtual Environment for Autistic Children autistic-children-leading2

About ASD

ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorders are neurodevelopmental conditions, characterized by social communication difficulties and restricted and repetitive behavior patterns. Current studies suggest that 1% of the population might fit an ASD diagnosis. At the same time, individuals with ASD tend to have intact and sometimes superior abilities to comprehend and manipulate closed, rule-based, predictable systems, such as a computerized environment.

The Need

Since intervention for ASD has been shown to be more effective when provided early in life, using the internet as a platform for the support of younger individuals with ASD could significantly promote their social inclusion.

The system

Our innovative ASC-Inclusion virtual world is an interactive software program that will assist children with ASD to understand and express emotions through facial expressions, tone-of-voice and body gestures. The system will combine several state-of-the-art technologies in one comprehensive virtual world including analysis of users’ gestures, facial and vocal expressions using standard microphone and webcam, training through games, text communication with peers and smart agents, animation, video and audio clips. Caregivers are offered their own supportive environment, including professional information, reports on a child’s progress and use of the system and forums for parents and therapists. Besides children with ASD the following target audience can also benefit from the system: behavioral disorders such as Learning Difficulties/Disabilities (Dyslexia, Hyperlexia, Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD)), ADD/ADHD, Social Communication Disorder, Conduct Disorder and others. See the demo and learn more about the system »

The team developing the system:

The software is being developed by a consortium of leading organizations as part of a research project funded by the European Community.The project was initiated by Compedia and the Autistic Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge, together with Bar Ilan University. Cambridge Computer Lab (CCL) provides technological assistance, with important contributions from the University of Genoa and the Technical University of Munich. The systems are being tested and validated by the Karolinska Institute, ARC at Cambridge and Bar Ilan University, while Autism Europe is helping to ensure user requirements are being met and assisting in dissemination.