Experts from Coventry University have designed the first low cost education and activity area for children with autism that can be used in mainstream schools. The environment is enabling teachers to educate and integrate children with special needs within conventional schools.
Over 100 primary and secondary school children in Birmingham and Coventry have successfully tested and used the high-tech (fixed and portable) teaching and learning spaces.
Autistic spectrum disorders touch the lives of over 500,000 UK families, and around 75% of people with autism have learning disabilities. In turn, sufferers need specialist education to maximise their skills.
People with autism suffer from problems with social interaction, social communication, and imagination. The best time to break through the impairments and help them connect with the world is when children are young, and this motivated the researchers to discover novel ways to use technology and space to improve their engagement.
A survey of 500 children with ASD revealed that they have a wider variety of sensory triggers than originally thought. In response to this, the system developed can be tailored for individual needs. Based around the senses, the setting engages children through vision, sound, movement and touch.
The multi-sensory environments use the latest multimedia computer technology and connect with children in new ways. The software that controls the system is simple and intuitive, so that teachers can use it without technical support.
The system is comprised of a computer, tailor made software, a projector, a video camera and sound speakers. To provide a safe, neutral environment traditional classroom strip lighting is swapped for daylight bulbs and an LED lighting system, and hypo allergenic marmoleum flooring and a padded projection screen where installed. The rooms are painted white, and black blinds block out light and noise from outside.
Improvements in users have included greater levels of engagement with other people, for example, improved communication with their peers. Teachers and parents have also noted that the children develop a better relationship with their school routine and improve their performance in mixed ability classes.
Dr Andree Woodcock, from Coventry University’s Design Ergonomics Applied Research Group, said: "Reality to an autistic person is a confusing, interacting mass of events, people, places, sounds and sights. Children with autism are often the ‘invisible pupils’, placed in inappropriate school environments that don't meet their needs. Project Spectrum is the first affordable space that can provide all children with a safe environment that can become part of everyday life."
Darryl Georgiou, from Coventry University’s School of Art and Design, added: “We have been careful not to overload children with bright colours or noise, while providing a space where they can develop their skills. Feedback on ‘Project Spectrum’ from parents, teachers and the children has been incredibly positive. More importantly, there have been ground-breaking steps made in developing the ability of autistic children to communicate.
“The tailor made software has helped frenetic children relax and become more focused. All the children had fun and enjoyed ‘being in control’ of the software and their environment.”
For further information contact: Jenny Murray, Communications Management, Tel: 01727 733 889, Email: email@example.com or Dr Andree Woodcock, Coventry University, Design Ergonomics Applied Research Group, Tel: 02476 887 832
The paper “Designing from requirements: a case study of Project Spectrum” by Woodcock, A, Georgiou, D, Jackson, J, and Woolner, A, is available from Jenny Murray, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Murray | alfa
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences