"A Computerized Interactive Game for Remediation of Prosody in Children with Autism"
van Santen, Jan
Oregon Health & Science University
People communicate both by what they say (content) and how they say it (prosody). Prosody can refer to the rhythm, loudness, timing, stress, and melody of speech, and allows people to communicate things like emphasis, feelings, and attitudes. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to have deficits in both expressive and received prosody – they may speak in a flat or sing-song voice, and be unable to grasp feelings conveyed by others through prosody. This study will focus on the computer-assisted remediation of expressive and receptive prosody in children with ASD. A computer program will be developed which consists of an interactive “drama book” containing a collection of videotaped social scenarios. These scenarios will represent different social situations requiring prosody, both receptive and communicative, highlighting prosody's role in affecting others and driving the selection of events. Interpersonal dramas in the game can unfold in different ways, controlled by the ASD subject's responses. This research will develop a novel intervention for communicative difficulties in autism, which may help to improve the communication skills of autistic children.