App4Autism: An Integrated Assistive Technology with Heart Rate Monitoring for Children with Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological development disorder that affects communication and behavior. Most assistive technologies for children with autistic traits have been designed to support single, targeted activity function such as learning and communication. In this paper, we report the design and development of an assistive mobile application with heart rate monitoring to help children with ASD in their daily life activities. The integrated mobile application, App4Autism was developed using a holistic design approach with the aim of enhancing communication, interaction and learning skills while providing emotion regulation support through music listening and heart rate monitoring. A novel focus of App4Autism is on noise sensitivity; to play music upon automatic detection of loud excessive noise (in decibel) while at the same time, monitoring the user’s heart rate using a pulse sensor. The paper focuses on a study to better understand the potential use and incorporation of music listening and heart rate/anxiety level monitoring in the app. The paper provides results of investigation into which music genre is more suitable to keep users calm. Initial experiment involved a general population sample; with results showing that personal music preference might have calming effects on users in environments with excessive background noise. We further expand on the design guidelines for creating an integrated assistive technology.
KeywordsAutism Early childhood intervention Mobile application Heart rate monitoring Assistive Technology
We would like to thank Miss Rani from the SCSOA for allowing us to conduct ethnographic studies and interviews at the childcare centre to help understand the needs of children with autism and by providing valuable suggestions and insights.
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