Many autistic children can have difficulty communicating, understanding others, and interacting with new and unfamiliar environments. At times they may suffer from a meltdown. The major contributing factor to meltdowns is sensory overwhelm. Technological solutions have shown promise in improving the quality of life for autistic children-however little exists to manage meltdowns. In this work with stakeholders, we design and deploy a low cost, mobile VR application to provide relief during sensory discomfort. Through the analysis of surveys from 88 stakeholders from a variety of groups (i.e., autistic adults, children with autism, parents of autistic individuals, and medical practitioners), we identified three key features regarding ways to manage meltdowns: escape, distract, and wait it out. These insights were implementation in a system, then was then remotely deployed with 6 families. Findings and future steps are discussed.
Louanne E. Boyd, Espen Garner, Ian Kim, and Gianna Valencia. 2022. Cognality VR: Exploring a Mobile VR App with Multiple Stakeholders to Reduce Meltdowns in Autistic Children. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts (CHI ’22 Extended Abstracts), April 29–May 05, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3491101.3519742