Sunday, March 11, 2007

Scientists And Designers Develop Pioneering Classroom Environment To Engage Autistic Children

Ergonomics applied to assisting autistic children ...

"The standard of education for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be improved by better classroom design, but often not enough attention is given to their needs. Now, researchers Coventry University's Design Ergonomics Applied Research Group have developed a new environment that is engaging autistic children in schools through digital technology.

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."    (Continued via Medical News Today)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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