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Autism and computers

Reactive Colours: Computation and Playful Engagement


Wendy Keay-Bright, and Dinah Murray

Reactive Colours© is a project which uses an expressive form of computation with a range of digital technologies to promote relaxation, encourage spontaneous play, and support learning for children on the autistic spectrum. The playful, feel good, nature of the project, and its lack of any potential for error, defines the learning experience. This paper will describe the methods undertaken to involve autistic children and those most closely associated with them in the design and development of the ReacTickles© sensory software and Reactive Colours© online com-munity. The paper will reveal how it became necessary to understand the anticipated audience at a social level as distinct from an observational level which relies on measuring performance and efficiency, so that the entire design process from concept development through to the varied and flexible evaluation strategies has been informed by the distinct needs and characteris-tics of the audience.

Wendy Keay-Bright
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), Wales

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Wendy Keay-Bright