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Current projects

Social Network Sites (SNSs) to mediate social support


Independence is the key to a successful transition to adulthood by individuals with autism. Social support is a crucial factor for achieving adaptive self-help life skills. We conducted a formative design exercise with young adults with autism and caregivers to uncover opportunities for social networks to support the important skill of promoting independence and facilitating coordination. The results of this study led to the concept of SocialMirror, an interactive mirror connected to an online social network that allows the young adult to seek advice from a trusted and responsive network of family, friends and professionals. Focus group discussions reveal the potential for SocialMirror to increase motivation to learn everyday life skills for young adults with autism and foster collaboration with a distributed care network. We present important design considerations to leverage a small trusted network that balances quick response with safeguards for privacy and security of young adults with autism.
  CSCW 2012


Building social support networks is crucial both for less-independent individuals with autism and for their primary caregivers. We investigate the role of a social network service (SNS) that allows young adults with autism to garner support from their family and friends. We explore the unique benefits and challenges of using SNSs to mediate requests for help or advice. In particular, we examine the extent to which specialized features of a SNS can engage users in communicating with their network members to get advice in varied situations. Our findings indicate that technology-supported communication particularly strengthened the relationship between the individual and extended network members, mitigating concerns about over-reliance on primary caregivers. Our work identifies implications for the design of social networking services tailored to meet the needs of this special needs population.

  CHI 2013

Past projects

Supporting health-related communication and education


We propose a collaborative and educational game for families with asthmatic children to improve their health. This paper describes design approaches and specifications of a game called TriggerHunter that enables asthmatic children to see asthma triggers in their home environment through an augmented reality technology. The goal of designing a game for tracking asthma triggers in the real world is to educate asthmatic children and their parents about triggers that may cause asthma attacks or worsen symptoms. By providing tailored learning experience that is enjoyable, this interactive game aims to increase awareness of asthma triggers and changes behaviors as to improve pediatric asthma management.
  CHI 2010 Extended Abstract


Adolescents and young adults on the high functioning autism (HFA) spectrum have very different needs and abilities. Deficits in social skills and executive function, however, are generally considered defining characteristics of HFA. Deficits in socialization often interfere with these individual's educational experience and quality of life, and explicit instruction is required to help them acquire age­ appropriate social skills. We describe an approach to social skills training for adolescents and young adults with HFA. Our design allows the user to role-play through social scenarios - such as going to the movie theatre-in a way that we believe may lead toward generalization.

  Pervasive Health 2011

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