A Smart Environment for Children with Autism

A Smart Environment for Children with Autism Deploying pervasive technology in “the wild” isn’t trivial; it’s even more challenging if it’s intended for long-term use in challenging environments. Over the past five years, the authors have been designing, developing, and pilot-testing pervasive technology to support several dimensions of the therapy cycle of children with autism, including augmented reality to support cognition, ambient displays to encourage positive behaviors, and exergames to support motor development. They have gradually deployed a range of technologies in a school clinic, where 15 physiologist-teachers serve nearly 60 children with autism. Their effort is showing how smart environments can positively impact current therapeutic practices. In this article, the authors reflect on their experiences creating this smart environment. They also discuss their deployment process and demonstrate that their smart environment is easy to use, useful, supports sustained empirical measurement and iterative development, and offers numerous educational and therapeutic benefits for children with autism. They close with a discussion of potential application themes as future work. This article is part of a special issue on smart spaces.