The Structural Determinants of Melodic Expres Sive Properties
Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
Over the past ten years, the authors have been designing, developing, and testing pervasive technology to support children with autism (ASD). Methods: In the present study, an integrated system based on multimedia and augmented interaction technologies have been tested on young subjects with ASD and dyspraxia in the age range of 6-10 years, in charge for rehabilitation treatments; a team of clinical psychologists has analyzed the results of the experimentation. The ten children involved in the
... en involved in the project underwent an initial assessment of praxis skills and motor coordination. Subsequently, the subjects were subdivided into two subgroups: five children participated in the experimentation and five were evaluated as the control group (treatment as usual). Results: The evaluation showed an increased score in the several aspects considered, and particularly those related to motor coordination. An improvement in balancing tests and in hands-movement testing was found. Conclusion: The children involved in the sessions showed greater ability to self-control the movement as well as to select specific motor areas. The methods used seem to be promising to improve emotional and social skills too in a motivating and enjoyable climate. A high level of acceptance by professionals was observed and parents' feedback was also positive. Pervasive games are gaining importance in the last years: these games are usually played in an interactive space, in which several user interfaces following a multimodal approach work together. Pervasive games have proven to be useful in several fields, including the educational field and also in the field of treatment and rehabilitation for children with special needs, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  or Autism. Children with special needs often experience a deficit in executive functioning (EF) and assistive technology can facilitate organization, time management and planning  . This work originates from a collaboration between the Signals and Images Laboratory of the Institute of Information Sciences and Technologies (ISTI) and the Institute of Clinical Physiology, both of the National Research Council of Italy, CNR. The present article describes, in particular, the design, implementation and evolution of an augmented interaction-based system that helps children with ASD to improve their communication and cognitive skills. Rather than superimposing digital information (images, audio, text) on the real world, as in "classic" AR (Augmented Reality) systems, in our system the technology is used to increase the sensorial relation with the environment. The systems are based on a computer connected to various sensors, so that it can reacts to movement with multimedia stimuli       . The learning content is conveyed by activities of production and perception of visual and auditory phenomena, aimed at increasing their communicative competence. The system is based on gestural interfaces and custom applications that extract features from the human gestures, mapping them to audio and visual stimuli under predefined schemes. The augmented interaction with the environment may improve the proprioception in the subjects. SEMI, the interactive multichannel expressive system  , is a project that inherits the experience of previous implemented asset with SiREMI and SiDOREMI projects (auditory feedback-based system and its evolution in a home version prototype), enriching it with new interaction modes that also include the visual channel     . The setting of the present feasibility study is The Maria Assunta in Cielo Onlus Foundation (fMAiC Onlus), a not-for-profit organization set up in Pistoia in 1989, on the initiative of a group of volunteers already engaged in associations and activities for people with disabilities  . These multimedia interactive devices have been experimented on a small group of children with autism .