Section: New Results
Tablet-Based Activity Schedule in Mainstream Environment for Children with Autism and Children with ID
Including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in mainstreamed environments creates a need for new interventions whose efficacy must be assessed in situ. We present a tablet-based application for activity schedules that has been designed following a participatory design approach involving mainstream teachers, special-education teachers and school aides. This applications addresses two domains of activities: classroom routines and verbal communications. We assessed the efficiency of our application with two overlapping user-studies in mainstream inclusion, sharing a group of children with ASD. The first experiment involved 10 children with ASD, where 5 children were equipped with our tabled-based application and 5 were not equipped. We show that (1) the use of the application is rapidly self-initiated (after two months for almost all the participants) and that (2) the tablet-supported routines are better performed after three months of intervention. The second experiment involved 10 children equipped with our application; it shared the data collected for the 5 children with ASD and compared them with data collected for 5 children with Intellectual Disabilities – ID. We show that (1) children with ID are not autonomous in the use of the application at the end of the intervention; (2) both groups exhibited the same benefits on classroom routines; and, (3) children with ID improve significantly less their performance on verbal communication routines. These results are discussed in relation with our design principles. Importantly, the inclusion of a group with another neurodevelopmen- tal condition provided insights about the applicability of these principles beyond the target population of children with ASD.