Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder, serious games, simulation, empathy, social skills development, stem games, disabilities, perspective taking, asperger's, simulation, children with autism

Abstract

This paper discusses the design, implementation, and evaluation of a serious game intended to reinforce applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques used with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by providing a low cost and easily accessible supplement to traditional methods. Past and recent research strongly supports the use of computer assisted instruction in the education of individuals with ASD (Moore & Calvert, 2000; Noor, Shahbodin, & Pee, 2012). Computer games have been shown to boost confidence and provide calming mechanisms (Griffiths, 2003) while being a safe environment for social exploration and learning (Moore, Cheng, McGrath, & Powell, 2005). Games increase children’s motivation and thus increase the rate of learning in computer mediated environments (Moore & Calvert, 2000). Furthermore, children with ASD are able to understand basic emotions and facial expressions in avatars more easily than in real-world interactions (Moore, Cheng, McGrath, & Powell, 2005). Perspective-taking (also known as role-taking) has been shown to be a crucial component and antecedent to empathy (Gomez-Becerra, Martin, Chavez-Brown, & Greer, 2007; Peng, Lee, & Heeter, 2010). Though symptoms vary across children with ASD, perspective-taking and empathy are abilities that have been shown to be limited across a wide spectrum of individuals with ASD and Asperger’s disorder (Gomez-Becerra, Martin, Chavez-Brown, & Greer, 2007). A game called WUBeeS was developed to aid young children with ASD in perspective taking and empathy by placing the player in the role of a caregiver to a virtual avatar. It is hypothesized that through the playing of this game over a series of trials, children with ASD will show an iv increase in the ability to discriminate emotions, provide appropriate responses to basic needs (e.g. feeding the avatar when it is hungry), and be able to communicate more clearly about emotions.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2014

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Vasquez, Eleazar

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Dean's Office, Graduate Studies

Degree Program

Modeling and Simulation

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005184

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005184

Language

English

Release Date

May 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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