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A Portable Application Supporting ABA Intervention


Purpose - Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific method for modelling human behavior, successfully applied in the context of autism. Recording and sharing measurable data (on the subjects' performance) between caregivers guarantees consistency of learning programs and allows monitoring the learning enhancement of the subject. Data are usually recorded on paper and partially  copied in an electronic format later, which requires considerable effort and is subject to error. In this paper we describe a portable application developed to support ABA tutors in their work with subjects with autism. It facilitates gathering data from ABA sessions, giving tutors rapid access to information, also in graphical formats.

Design/methodology/approach - The tool was designed according to the participatory design technique, involving all the stakeholders (in this case the members of an ABA team) from the early stage of the design. This approach aims to increase usability while minimizing errors.

Findings - The use of mobile devices (i.e., tablets or smartphones) allows mobility and ease of interaction, enabling efficient data collection and processing. Data plotting allows one to easily interpret gathered data.

Social implications - The proposed application, free open-source software, can be a valuable aid for supporting the ABA intervention and favor the inclusion of children with autism.

Originality/value - Available software to assist tutors during therapy sessions is often proprietary, and research prototypes are not freely available, so paper forms are still widespread. However, without attention to usability requirements, assisting tools would be comparable in efficiency with paper data insertion. Our software was specifically designed following ABA principles and favors efficient data entry allowing natural interaction with touch screen interfaces: drag and drop, taps and gestures. Furthermore, it is shared in the public domain.

Journal of Assistive Technologies , 2013

External authors: Barbara Leporini (ISTI - CNR)
IIT authors:

Silvia Artoni

Foto di Silvia Artoni

Claudia Fenili

Foto di Claudia Fenili

Simona Mencarini

Foto di Simona Mencarini

Type: Article in non-ISI Journal with international referees
Field of reference: Computer Science & Engineering
Da pagina 78 a pagina 92

Activity: Accessibility and Usability of User Interfaces