On active sharing and responses to joint attention bids by children with autism in a loosely coupled collaborative play environment

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Conference Proceeding

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Social reputation management is essential in social interactions and believed to be mediated by the intrinsic motive to preserve and improve one's social reputation. Moreover, these activities are often only loosely structured. Prior studies revealed that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are less sensitive to social reputation than their typically developing (TD) peers, which might explain their lack of reciprocity and desire to engage in social activities, despite that their brain functions that underpin social interaction remain intact with delayed development. Little is known about their reciprocity in loosely coupled collaboration environment where Free Play (FP, rather than Enforced Collaboration, or EC) is imposed. Our study in the long run aims at addressing this issue by engaging ASD children in a collaborative puzzle game where each child has a private work-space. The present study focuses on the design and development of such an application unfolded through a series of small-scale pilot studies with Chinese children at three different autism centers in the city. Preliminary qualitative and in-game quantitative results showed that their skills in reciprocity, active sharing aiming to completing their own task, (selective) initiating and responding to joint attention bids have satisfying been remedied and optimized in such a loosely structured play environment. There are two uniqueness of our study; one lies in the design of a loosely coupled collaborative play environment; another is to quantitatively measure some joint attention skills through children's behavioral actions.

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IDC 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children

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