Thesis Topic 1: The correlation between interactive interfaces and the behavioral development of special needs individuals.
I have worked in the field of academics for over twenty years. During that time, I have had the opportunity to assist in developing and teaching interactive multimedia. Specifically my duties as a multimedia developer allow me to create interactive learning objects, reusable components that can be useful for instruction across many topics. As a full instructor and volunteer, I have encountered and worked with special needs students, who have had social and behavioral issues. This has inspired me to develop an interest in creating interactive interfaces to assist in helping special need individuals. Taking the mechanics of games and using creative interfaces that engage special needs users to solve problems or obtain goals, is a useful tool to promote positive changes in their behavior and communication skills. I will explore this topic by researching interfaces that address the behavioral development of those with Autism and related disorders, and their learning obstacles and challenges. The purpose of the research is to test to see if gaming techniques and an engaging interfaces will be an effective learning tool for patients with Autism.
An application prototype will be created to test this theory. This application will use stimulus equivalence and fading to teach sight words to individuals with Autism and related disorders. Some design obstacles include the need to consider sensory related dysfunction triggers such as overly distracting sounds, bright colors, and blinking lights. In addition, to be considered is the device enabling self-stimulatory behaviors, repetitive behaviors, and continuous manipulation of the interface in order to obtain desired forms of sensory input.