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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.


© The authors, 2022 This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts in 2022.


The authors