Notes on “Designing Capture Applications to Support the Education of Children with Autism”

September 28, 2008

Designing Capture Applications to Support the Education of Children with Autism: Gillian Hayes, Julie A. Kientz, Khai N. Truong, David R. White, Gregory D. Abowd & Trevor Pering

The authors visited a school for autistic children and developed three technology applications. The first is a computerization of existing paper-based recording processes. The second is an application that allows therapists to tag videos of sessions with data. The third allows adults near a child to record observations onto a server carried by the child, using any available computer.

The authors discovered the importance of tailoring these applications to the needs of the target users, incorporating privacy and financial considerations.

This paper is hard to read. The authors use long sentences with complex words and unnecessary jargon. I suspect two causes. First, I believe the authors were trying to be politically correct. For example, they use words like “neurotypical” instead of “healthy” or “normal.” Second, I think their fundamental contributions are simple and thus they were trying to expand into an important-sounding paper.

The first section of the paper described their research techniques. “…ethnomethodological studies…”, “…stakeholder interviews at a specialized school…”,  “The data consisted of audio and video recordings and observer notes.” Read: They watched autistic kids, spoke with their teachers and therapists, and took notes.

The second section describes the prototypes they built. Unfortunately, none of the applications are cost-effective. Also, all have significant privacy or financial concerns.

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