Jo Gregory BroughIndustrial Design and Technology BA
Combating the Social Isolation of ASD
Digital communication aid for young people with ASD
700,000 individuals in the UK suffer from an Autism Spectrum Disorder, 58,000 of whom are adolescents with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified); the condition affects 32% of the ASD population, characterised by severe social and communication deficits that worsen with age. Adolescents face increasingly complex social situations and daily interactions with peers, however traits of PDD-NOS result in difficulties making and maintaining conversations, difficulty forming personal relationships and an inability to empathise and understand emotional feeling. The solution, a digital communication aid, allows users to communicate through a personally designed avatar using facial tracking software on an augmented reality platform. Facial expressions become exaggerated to improve the understanding and context of emotions while real-time conversation with other users aims to teach effective and realistic communication skills. This enables individuals with PDD-NOS to feel comfortable initiating communication while developing transferable social skills.