Researchers from Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) have developed a Collaborative Puzzle Game with the aim of fostering social interaction skills among children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Experiments using the system were conducted in Israel at University of Haifa and Bar-Ilan University, and the results will be presented this week at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Chicago.
The Collaborative Puzzle Game runs on a multi-touch computer screen and uses a novel concept called Enforced Collaboration whereby puzzle pieces, in order to be moved, must be touched and dragged simultaneously by two players. The aim of this interaction technique is to provide a playful activity that can help children with Autism Spectrum Disorders improve social skills. Results show that Enforced Collaboration has a positive impact on measures reflecting social interaction among autistic children.
"In our research, we wanted to create a task that required the children to work together, and the DiamondTouch table was the only interface device that allowed us to do that," commented Alberto Battocchi, researcher at FBK who began work on the project while he was a PhD student at University of Trento. Battocchi added, "Our work addresses one of the core difficulties of autism - social interaction."
The Collaborative Puzzle Game: An Interactive Activity for Fostering Collaboration in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder A. Battocchi (Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Povo, Italy), G. Esposito (Department of Cognitive Science and Education, University of Trento, Trento, Italy), A. Ben-Sasson (Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel), E. Gal (Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel), F. Pianesi (Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Povo, Italy),
P. Venuti (University of Trento, Trento, Italy), P. L. Weiss (Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel).