The AUTISM education project, entitled “Educating Autistic Children by using new technologies”, was funded by the Operational Programme for Education and Initial Vocational Training (O.P. "Education") of the Greek Ministry of Education.
The project activities included the design and development of a platform intended to enhance or mediate the teacher-child educational process. The platform is based on various interaction procedures according to the disability level of the autistic person in question and comprises several modules, each of them representing a specific learning domain. Namely, there are modules where the child is asked to identify the correct image between two or more images, to put images in the correct sequence (according to time), identify emotions by visual expressions etc. Furthermore, the more complex modules are in the form of semi-virtual environments. They provide the child with the ability to interact in a safe and controlled way. The theme of each module varies from objects in the normal surroundings, everyday use objects, colours, words etc. The instructions are given either by an affective avatar, synthesized speech in autistic person’s native language (in the specific example - Greek), written in the screen, by the corresponding makaton symbol or a combination of these. Additionally, the avatar can express emotions depending on the situations, e.g. happiness when the correct image is selected, sadness if not. The instructions and the difficulty level can be personalised for each user. User input/feedback is facilitated by means of a mouse interaction, a touch screen or large buttons attached to the computer.
An equally important feature of AUTISM Education is the recording of the interaction/education process in a database. The educators are enabled with track record of the users’ progress and modify the difficulty levels accordingly. Additionally, an educator may register specific educational or personality data for each autistic person. The printable format of all the records (Fig. 1) enables easy monitoring and analysis of the learning process. In this way, a longitudinal record may be achieved indicating “a learning curve” for each autistic person separately, thereby enhancing and normalising the educational procedures toward each person’s needs.
1. Evdokimos I. Konstantinidis, Andrej Luneski, Christos A. Frantzidis, M. Nikolaidou, Magda Hitoglou-Antoniadou, Panagiotis D. Bamidis, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Enhanced Education of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, The Journal on Information Technology in Healthcare 2009; 7(5): 284–292
1. Luneski, Andrej, Konstantinidis, Evdokimos and Bamidis, Panagiotis (2010) Affective Medicine: a review of Affective Computing efforts in Medical Informatics. Methods of Information in Medicine, 49 (3). pp. 207-218. ISSN 0026-1270 (Impact Factor 1.472)
2. Andrej Luneski, Evdokimos I. Konstantinidis, Madga Hitoglou-Antoniadou, Panagiotis D. Bamidis, “Affective Computer-Aided Learning for Autistic Children” ICMI 2008 The 1st Workshop on Child, Computer and Interaction, Chania, Crete, Greece, 20-23 October 2008
3. Evdokimos I. Konstantinidis, Andrej Luneski, Maria M. Nikolaidou, Magda Hitoglou-Antoniadou, Panagiotis D. Bamidis, Using Affective Avatars and Rich Multimedia Content for Education of Children with Autism, The 2nd International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments is organized by the University of Texas at Arlington, USA. , Workshop on AHETA: "Assistive Healthcare & Educational Technologies for special tArget groups", 9-13 June, Corfu, Greece
4. Evdokimos I. Konstantinidis, Andrej Luneski, Christos A. Frantzidis, Pappas Costas, Panagiotis D., A Proposed Framework of an Interactive Semi-Virtual Environment for Enhanced Education of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, The 22nd IEEE International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems, CBMS 2009, 3-4 August, 2009, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
5. Evdokimos I. Konstantinidis, Andrej Luneski, Christos A. Frantzidis, M. Nikolaidou, Magda Hitoglou-Antoniadou, Panagiotis D. Bamidis, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Enhanced Education of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Health, ICICTH 2009, July 16-18, 2009, Samos, Greece
Tzanavari E., Konstantinidis E.I., Bamidis P.D., Hitoglou-Antoniadou M., Extending the autism communication system with educational scenaria, XII Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, MEDICON 2010, Porto Carras, Chalkidiki, Greece, May 27-30, 2010