Videos with integrated AAC visual scene displays

VSD of person riding busO’Neill, T., Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2017). Videos with integrated AAC visual scene displays to enhance participation in community and vocational activities: Pilot case study with an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 2(12), 55-69.

doi:10.1044/persp2.sig12.55

Abstract: In order to maximize the positive outcomes of augmentative and alternative communication interventions, it is critical that interventions support the participation of individuals with complex communication needs within real-world interactions in their natural environments. A pilot case study was used to evaluate the effects of videos with integrated visual scene displays (VSDs), displayed on a tablet-based application (app), on the percent of task steps completed independently within three community and vocational activities by an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The results indicated noticeable gains in independent task completion and communication across contexts while using the video VSD app after only a few intervention sessions. These results provide preliminary evidence that videos with integrated VSDs may serve as an effective means to maximize independent participation and communication for individuals with complex communication needs and ASD in real-world contexts. Ultimately, this assistive technology could reduce dependence on aides (e.g., job coaches, paraprofessionals) and create increased opportunities for employment and independent participation in meaningful community activities for individuals with complex communication needs.

Background and Methods

In order to maximize the positive outcomes of AAC interventions, it is critical that interventions support the participation of individuals with complex communication needs within real-world interactions in their natural environments. A pilot case study was used to evaluate the effects of videos with integrated visual scene displays (VSDs), displayed on a tablet-­based app, (EasyVSD by Invotek1) on the percent of task steps completed independently within three community and vocational activities by an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The three tasks targeted were working at the print shop, riding the public bus, and completing a shredding job at school.

Task analyses were used to identify the steps to complete the tasks, as well as the opportunities for communication. Short video segments of about 10 seconds in length, each representing a step in the task analysis, were captured and added to the app. Hotspots with embedded messages were added to videos.  Wherever a hotspot was embedded, the video automatically paused and the hotspot appeared momentarily in order to highlight the communicative message. Figure 1 provides a screenshot of the EasyVSD app from the bus riding context.

VSD of person riding bus

Figure 1. Screenshot of the video VSD app from the bus riding context; it depicts a VSD with an embedded hotspot (“hello”) used to greet the bus driver. The VSD contains a text caption describing the required step

The study included baseline and intervention sessions. During baseline, data were collected during target activities as they typically occurred within her school program prior to the intervention, without the use of the video VSD app. During intervention, the participant was provided with access to the tablet with the video VSD app.

Results

The data suggested that using videos with integrated VSDs on the app supported the participant in successful independent task completion and communication within real-world community and vocational tasks. The percent of steps performed independently within each context are represented in Figure 2. Changes in her performance were observed immediately upon introduction of the app; moreover, she required only a few intervention sessions to perform a range of meaningful community and vocational tasks more independently despite low levels of independence at baseline.

3 graphs showing improvement

Figure 2. Percent of steps completed independently by the participant during baseline and intervention across three contexts.

Discussion

These results provide preliminary evidence that videos with integrated VSDs may serve as an effective means to maximize independent participation and communication for individuals with complex communication needs and ASD in real world contexts. Ultimately, this assistive technology could reduce dependence on aides (e.g., job coaches, paraprofessionals) and create increased opportunities for employment and independent participation in meaningful community activities for individuals with complex communication needs.

Notes

1 EasyVSD is an AAC application created by InvoTek, Inc. This technology is being developed for commercial transfer. http://www.invotek.org/.

Disclosures

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the (a) Penn State AAC Leadership Project, a doctoral training grant funded by U.S. Department of Education grant #H325D110008 and (b) Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (The RERC on AAC), funded by grant #90RE5017 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation (NIDILRR) within the Administration for Community Living (ACL) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tara O’Neill, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 401F Ford Building, University Park, PA 16802. Email: tao5012@psu.edu

 

 

 

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