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Research

Research is vitally important for us, as we want to develop products that match the wishes of the children and their teachers or carers. Therefore, we do different studies about children with an autism spectrum disorder and their (learning) environment.

AUTISM & THE TOVERTAFEL

Exploratory project ‘Active Cues for Autism’ Learn more about this research
Game testing in Miami: Designing for a spectrum of needs Learn more about this research
Design guidelines for children with autism Learn more about this research
Designing for people with a cognitive challenge Learn more about this research

Exploratory project ‘Active Cues for Autism’

For the exploratory project ‘Active Cues for Autism’, a multi-disciplinary project team worked together on the development of the new Tovertafel Unique, which can help children with autism to play together. In close collaboration with children, teachers, therapists and researchers, we designed games especially for this target group.

  • interactive projections can create a common focus
  • many children enjoy the interactive light projections and noises
  • moving projections invite people to take turns
  • light is safe to play with

With thanks to:

Game testing in Miami: Designing for a spectrum of needs

We worked closely with ‘The Learning Center’ and the Els for Autism Foundation in Jupiter (Florida, USA). In the autumn of 2016, we tested games there for the Tovertafel Unique with more than fifty children and their teachers. To improve our games, we observed the children in small groups of five. We also researched how the games can optimally support the teachers and therapists in their work.

  • Every child with autism is unique
  • Children all play with the Tovertafel in their own way
  • Teachers pursue unique play and learning goals for each child
  • Practising skills with the Tovertafel is challenging
  • Teachers can focus on the interaction with the children, because the Tovertafel provides them with ready-made ‘materials’

Design guidelines for children with autism

To make our games well suited to the target group, we developed design guidelines in the form of play characteristics. The basis of our guidelines comes from a publication from Van Rijn and Stappers (2008) in which they provide designers with an overview of environmental interactions that are valued by children with an autism spectrum disorder.

  • Give the children the feeling that they have control in the game
  • Provide children with a structured situation
  • Allow children to make a structure themselves
  • Make use of the children's special interests
  • Facilitate the children's excellent memory
  • Reward children with sensory experiences
  • Facilitate their eye for detail
  • Allow children to use their whole body

Read the scientific publication
Read more about play characteristics

Designing for people with a cognitive challenge

In our Research & Design team, research designer Dr MSc Engineering (Ir.) Helma van Rijn is responsible for the user research and the game design for children with an autistic spectrum disorder. She has a PhD in design from the TU Delft in the area of co-design with and for people with a cognitive challenge. Her PhD thesis ‘Meaningful Encounters’ describes how designers can learn from meetings with children with autism and their carers. Besides this, her research contains a design case for people on the dementia journey. At Active Cues, Helma gets to put her knowledge into practice!

Read the thesis