An Augmented Toy and Social Interaction in Children with Autism

Authors: Steve Hinske, William Farr and Nicola Yuill

An Augmented Knights Castle (AKC) play set was adapted so that children with autism can configure programmable elements. This is compared with a non-configurable AKC and when the AKC set is switched-off. When the system is configurable, and when it is switched on, less solitary play and more cooperative play occur. Digital toys, and their configurability are key factors in design for children with autism allowing greater individual control and more socially oriented behaviour. We suggest that tangibles provide a safety net for encouraging social interaction as they allow for a broad range of interaction styles.