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Design For Children With Autism: Erin Okoniewski

Erin Okoniewski Faculty Advisor Dee Nicholas

Autism Spectrum Disorder affects 1 in 68 children in the United States.1 Controlling autistic tendencies and habits can be a struggle for both child and parent. This project is an investigation into designing wearable technology for children on the autism spectrum.  While a large variety of technology specific to the autism community already exists, none of it is discrete and easily transportable, nor do they provide assistance for the three most important areas.  Communication, behavior, and sensory help is what children need most in order to truly achieve their independence. By creating wearable technology that encompasses all three areas, we can improve both children and parents’ lives by providing a path to independence and positive habits.

Through initial literature and information collection, the basic needs that this new technology must provide were determined. This research was then used to concept map the most important information and affinity cluster certain functions together. This grouping of functions is important for creating different apps by knowing what topics are most important and which of the smaller ideals sit under their umbrella and can all at in one digital interface. This data is the basis of determining the function of a new platform. Further research and human centered design allowed for several prototypes to be created and tested. As user interface and app prototypes are developed, going forward with more human centered design methods will ensure that all users and stakeholders benefit from the technology.