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Augmented Reality to Support Social Language Skill Development for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Project Member(s): Bryant, L.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Epic Megagrants
Epic Megagrants

Start year: 2022

Summary: Augmented Reality works by superimposing virtual objects and characters onto real-world surroundings using a tablet computer (e.g., iPad) or specialized AR glasses (e.g., Microsoft HoloLens 2). Findings from a few small-scale studies (N ≤ 8) indicate that AR may be used to facilitate improvements in social communication skills, specifically for children with autism spectrum disorder. This project will extend on prior research by Bryant and Estela to develop Augmented Reality applications to support children to learn social communication strategies, including recognizing and interpreting non-verbal communication cues and responding to those appropriately. Previous pilot research (funded by a UTS ECR Capability Development Grant) piloted the design process to develop a prototype application that could be used on iPad or HoloLens to teach basic language skills and vocabulary. This project will extend this pilot to create greater interactivity and capability in such applications, including interaction with human avatars to support the translation of therapeutic gains from the virtual to the physical worlds. The applications developed through this project will provide a foundation for further research investigation to test the feasibility and capabilities of AR technology, and provide interactive and functional therapy to adolescents and adults with communication disability.

FOR Codes: Ability and disability, Disability and functional capacity, Teaching and instruction technologies, Communication technology and digital media studies, Allied health and rehabilitation science, People with disability