Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Digital worlds can help autistic children to develop social skills

Date:
October 21, 2011
Source:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Summary:
The benefits of virtual worlds can be used to help autistic children develop social skills beyond their anticipated levels, suggest early findings from new research. Researchers have developed an interactive environment which uses multi-touch screen technology where virtual characters on the screen demonstrate gestures and show children's actions in real time.

The benefits of virtual worlds can be used to help autistic children develop social skills beyond their anticipated levels, suggest early findings from new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Researchers on the Echoes Project have developed an interactive environment which uses multi-touch screen technology where virtual characters on the screen demonstrate gestures and show children's actions in real time.

During sessions in the virtual environment, primary school children experiment with different social scenarios, allowing the researchers to compare their reactions with those they display in real-world situations.

"Discussions of the data with teachers suggest a fascinating possibility," said project leader Dr Kaska Porayska-Pomsta."Learning environments such as Echoes may allow some children to exceed their potential, behaving and achieving in ways that even teachers who knew them well could not have anticipated."

"A teacher observing a child interacting in such a virtual environment may gain access to a range of behaviours from individual children that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to observe in a classroom," she added.

Early indications of this research are that over a number of sessions some children demonstrate a better quality of interaction within the virtual environment and an increased ability to manage their own behaviour, enabling them to concentrate on following a virtual character's gaze or to focus on a pointing gesture, thus developing the skills vital for good communication and effective learning.

The findings could prove particularly useful in helping children with autism to develop skills they normally find difficult. Dr Porayska-Pomsta said: "Since autistic children have a particular affinity with computers, our research shows it may be possible to use digital technology to help develop their social skills."

"The beauty of it is that there are no real-world consequences, so children can afford to experiment with different social scenarios without real-world risks," she added.

The findings from the Echoes Project will showcase technologies for autism during an event in Birmingham which is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science in November.

"In the longer term, virtual platforms such as the ones developed in the Echoes project could help young children to realise their potential in new and unexpected ways," concluded Dr Porayska-Pomsta.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Digital worlds can help autistic children to develop social skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111021074534.htm>.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2011, October 21). Digital worlds can help autistic children to develop social skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111021074534.htm
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Digital worlds can help autistic children to develop social skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111021074534.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins