Coventry University in the United Kingdom announced a breakthrough recently that promises to help close the gap between autistic children and children without special needs. A team of researchers from its Design Ergonomics Applied Research Group has developed a customizable and inexpensive environment that will enable teachers to educate and integrate children with special needs within conventional schools. Called Project Spectrum, it uses vision, sound, movement and touch to engage the autistic children’s senses.
People with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) suffer from problems with social interaction, social communication and imagination. Some 75 per cent of them have learning disabilities. Studies have found that the best time to break through the impairments and help people with the disability connect with the world is when they are children, according to a news release from the University that was published in Innovations Report and other media. The article noted that this knowledge motivated the researchers to discover novel ways to use technology and space to engage ASD children.
A survey of 500 ASD children revealed that they had a wider variety of sensory triggers than originally thought, so the innovative teaching environment uses multi-media computer technology to connect with them. The researchers say the software that controls the system is simple and intuitive