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Hacking Autism 9.13.11 Chat Transcript

On September 13, the second Hacking Autism LIVE Chat was held, where members of the Advisory Board discussed ideas submitted by the community.
 
The Hackathon event will bring together Hacking Autism’s Advisory board, experts in Autism, technologist and people on the spectrum. This catalyst event takes the ideas submitted to the Hacking Autism website to a multidisciplinary group to actually create applications for people to use free of charge.
 

7:00

 

Good evening!

7:01

 

Welcome to the second live chat for the HP Hackathon! This chat is text only – you’ll interact with us via the live chat client that you are logged into at different times. Your chat host tonight is Marc Sirkin, Chief Community Officer at Autism Speaks and Alison Dyer, Social Marketing Manager also at Autism Speaks. We have a special group of our advisors also on the chat with us – and we’ll introduce them in a a few moments.

7:01

 

Comment From Cindy 
Good evening! I’m glad to be at this chat!

7:01

 

The Hacking Autism Hackathon has pulled together a volunteer group of software developers with leading autism specialists to work together to develop groundbreaking, touch-enabled applications for the autism community.

7:02

 

Tonight’s chat is all about improving a few of the best ideas and creating a conversation with you about this program. This is the second and last of our scheduled chats. 

7:02

 

In mid-October, we’ll be at HP offices for the live hackathon, taking the best ideas and matching them up with volunteer development teams to actually build the apps you’ve submitted! So far, we’ve had more than 250+ ideas submitted! Thank you! 

7:03

Have you submitted an idea to www.hackingautism.org?
Yes!
 

 ( 22% )

No, still thinking

 ( 78% )

7:04

 

The first part of the chat will be fairly structured… we’ll show you 3 separate ideas, and for each idea ask you a few questions and then start to brainstorm on how to improve the idea. More on that in a moment… Meanwhile, I’d like to briefly let you know who you’ll be interacting with tonight from our advisory committee… 

7:05

 

Phil McKinney – HP PSG CTO 
Jim St. Leger – Intel 
Chris Chirco – Doug Flutie Foundation 
Jennifer Leighton – Spaulding Outpatient Center for Children Read more about all the committee members here:http://hackingautism.org/our-mission/our-team

7:06

 

Ok, great… here’s how tonight’s chat will work: First, we will present an idea and ask via interactive poll if it is clear what the idea is… the ideas you will review are unedited submissions from the community (that’s you!). Please excuse typos and grammar – I’m sure anyone submitting an app idea was so excited about it that they were more focused on the app than spelling things correctly! 

7:06

 

Then, we’ll ask for feedback and input on the idea (i.e. do you like it, or not) via the comments. Please note that we’ll try to get to everyone’s questions and comments but there are a lot of folks online with us so be patient!Finally, we’ll brainstorm a little on some good features – just submit your ideas and questions when we prompt you and we’ll share responses with the group as we go… 

7:07

 

Ok… are you ready? Here’s the first idea…

7:07

 

Idea #1 Stranger/Danger game

7:07

 

I would love to see an app(s) that would help teach basic safety skills like “stranger danger”- crossing the street- bike safety- water safety- fire safety….all these skills and drills we teach neurotypicals but not special needs kids focused! I think I would use a method of visual modeling…like little strories of real kids making choices and modeling the specific skill! My son has learned so much from video modeling but I haven’t found any resources for safety skills. 

7:08

Do you understand the basic concept?
Yes
 

 ( 100% )

No

 ( 0% )

7:08

 

Comment From Richard Tyson
I like that idea

7:08

 

Comment From Joanne
GREAT IDEA!! NEEDED!

7:09

 

What are some of your thoughts on this idea to make it even stronger?

7:09

 

Comment From julie hudy
great. video and maybe just picture with the action.

7:09

 

Comment From awilda
so simple and logical

7:09

 

Comment From Guest
I feel that would be great. Just last week my son ran out into the middle of the street and cam within inches of getting hit. He had no idea what happened just knew that I was screaming

7:09

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
Allowing parents to customize/add situations unique to their environments (city/suburban/rural/etc.)

7:10

 

Comment From Cindy
I would like to see it be animated, colorful, and interactive. My step son loves seeing vivid images and that captures his attention. I wouldn’t want him not to want to use it because its dull.

7:11

 

Comment From Peggy
what about children who can’t understand a video?

7:11

 

Comment From Rachel
Definity the idea from Jonathan! My son would definitly connect better if he was familiar with the area in the situation!

7:11

 

Comment From julie hudy
maybe even taking picture to personalized it further.

7:11

 

Comment From Joanne
Keep it Simple get the main idea across… don’t go over board. they dont need it to be overly stimulating to get the point acroos. I like J.Ezors idea partents can pick the isues

7:11

 

Peggy – great question. Visual interaction could be broken down into single images perhaps?

7:12

 

Perhaps as kids get older we can have different or age appropriate graphics and images. Seems like a great idea to be able to use the device camera to even further customize things.

7:12

 

Comment From Autism Help
a capability to insert their picture and become the character in the app. “game”.

7:13

 

Comment From julie hudy
we used picture boards – that kind of thing worked great.

7:13

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
It would be good to have an interactive feature with some build in (or external) reward function. That is the child is presented with a situation and is rewarded for making the safe choice.

7:13

 

Jerry – baic gaming concepts are good, but we’d have to be careful about some kids getting over excited about the rewards!

7:14

 

Comment From Guest
are these apps going to run on PC’s or tablets?

7:14

 

Guest… totally depends on what apps we pick and who develops them!

7:14

 

Comment From Joanne
Yeah Like the Wii where we can create our own person! And I like age approperate too.

7:14

 

Comment From Donna
It could be as simple as teaching basic boundaries to start.

7:15

 

Comment From Danny
A reward system seems like a good idea, however, it might discourage the child if she doesn’t get a reward.

7:16

 

Joanne – great point and.. Mii’s do have basic facial features and expressions. Hmmm!!!

7:16

 

Comment From Tim Chafos
Rewards, even tokens, work great with our son. Would definitely like to see them in an app.

7:16

 

Comment From Rachel
My son would just get mad if he didn’t get the reward and probably give up on the game. I like the idea of a wii game though, my son loves the wii and it could be like a game where you move up levels.

7:17

 

Comment From Joe
Is there a way to build the app so parents have a choice between vivid and monochromatic for those that respond better to more lower sensory stimuli

7:17

 

OK!! Great stuff.. let’s go on to idea #2…

7:17

 

Idea 2 Fitness/Therapy tracking app

7:17

 

I’d love to see an app that helps people with autism track fitness efforts and nutrition tips. PWD are in worse shape than the general population. What is family history- BMI- weight- age- cholesterol? What is their regimen or routine (walks- running- swimming etc). How often? Outcomes? What inclusive programs support them? Meals? Calorie intake?

7:17

Do you understand the basic concept?
Yes
 

 ( 98% )

No

 ( 2% )

7:17

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
ref rewards. It should just build on basic ABA principles. Repetition and rewards is how we all learn, and especially our lower functioning kids won’t get it any other way.

7:18

 

What are your thoughts/idea on this fitness idea?

7:19

 

Comment From awilda
stay active, sports,getting out in the community.

7:19

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
Remember that many kids on the spectrum are on special diets for whatever reason. If you’re including recipes/food lists, they need to reflect those possibilities.

7:19

 

Comment From Julie
for my son to engage it has to have some music or animated with relevant sounds – if it is too static or just voice over he won’t engage with it

7:19

 

Is anyone using existing fitness platforms like Wii or XBox games?

7:19

 

Comment From Guest
In wii fit, more exercises are opened up as you master certain levels and my daughter finds that rewarding and she love creating mii’s for everyone she knows

7:20

 

Comment From Sherri
Yes, have tried both of those.

7:20

 

Sherri – how did they work?

7:21

 

Comment From Autism Help
Expose the child to various activities and gather info from ther on what the child enjoys. Then cultivate that passion so that it doesn’t become just for fitness purposes but also a learning experience.

7:21

 

Comment From Cindy
I use Wii Fit, and my step son has a very hard time using programs like that and gets frustrated so I don’t use it.

7:21

 

Comment From Rachel
My son loves the wii fit, something like that would be great.

7:21

 

Comment From Sherri
Son can keep up for awhile, but then gets board with them.

7:21

 

Comment From Donna
I think it is a great idea even for a little older kids especilly for portion control , choices,and exercise !!

7:21

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
We have had success making exercise one of the activities on our son’s afternoon “activity schedule.” It becomes part of the routine.

7:22

 

Comment From Tasha
ya but what about those on the spectrum that are extremely low functioning and would have to use the most simple and basic apps available…i work with 4 autistic boys, all on diff levels of the spectrum..for one of the boys, this program might work better for me as the caregiver, since i honestly dont think he would be able to grasp the idea of any sort of device as this, however the rest of the boys have already started using communication computers in school and they work fantastic

7:22

 

Tasha – great point, what a huge challenge.

7:22

 

Comment From Julie
obviously very different for each child – wii is an option as at home it can be controlled with timers to limit and other visuals

7:22

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
Is it possible to tie a pedometer or other metering in via Bluetooth Serial Port Protocol for data gathering?

7:22

 

Comment From Donna
It is the difference of how functioning the child is it needs to be looked at in all ranges.

7:22

 

Jonathan – wow, cool idea. Fitbit is a device like that, isn’t it?

7:23

 

Comment From Rachel A.
My son loves the Wii and he, too, likes making miis of everyone he knows.

7:23

 

Comment From Donna V
I use a Wii in my classroom and the one game that I have found ALL of my students love, are the dance games…very basic movements, I have not had a student yet who has not enjoyed it. Very basic, enjoyable music, great for all levels I find.

7:24

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
Tasha – I think having a fitness app for the caregiver is a great idea. Especially for one’s with multiple PWD to take care of. Tracking who is eating what and exercising how must be a big challenge.

7:24

 

Comment From Donna V
It would be great to see in an app a feature where you can set up a set amount of work time and then a set break time where it beeps to come back.

7:24

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
Nintendo added a Pedometer (aka Pokewalker) to Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Using it opened up levels, new Pokemon, etc. Something like that would be good.

7:25

 

Comment From Jeremy
I think the games that allow multiple students to play are best. Address social skills as well that way.

7:25

 

Comment From Cindy
I LOVE the pedometer incorporated to a game and unlocking levels etc.!

7:26

 

Comment From Jeremy
My students also really like MeMoves – fitness/movement with music!

7:26

 

Comment From Autism Help
Go for a walk and give a child an old camera. He can take pictures along the way. Then you have something to talk about afterwards.

7:26

 

Autism Help – what a neat idea.

7:27

 

Comment From Cory and Kristy
Our daughter works well with music if it has music then whatever it is has her att.

7:27

 

Comment From julie hudy
Austism help – love the camera idea.

7:28

 

Comment From Jeffery
In my class we use touch screen computers. They are great!! My students with autism has progressed greatly.

7:28

 

Comment From Donna
I love the walk idea,me and my son go hiking together it works great !

7:28

 

Excellent discussin on fitness apps… let’s move on to idea #3…

7:28

 

Comment From Rachel
Autism help, we do the camera thing already and he loves it, and I love seeing the world from his point of view!

7:29

 

Idea 3 Advanced calendar/schedulingApp to help you fill free moments in their calendar. Children/parents may put in activities available at home/outside and the app may suggest other activities (at home/outside/PC) time indicationI need a simple calendar app that is separate from the included calendar app on the iPad to use for my son. He has very little sense of time- and he needs an organizer that is simple to use with very little extra stuff with it. We have tried using a paper calendar but with little success. As much as he loves anything on a screen- I think he would be much more likely to use it on the iPad (or an iPod touch if I’m ever able to get one for him). I have searched and searched- and there is nothing out there like this.I’d love to see an app that teaches and tests calendar concepts (days of the week- months of the year- how to read a calendar).

7:29

Do you understand the basic concept?
Yes
 

 ( 97% )

No

 ( 3% )

7:29

 

What are your thoughts on this idea?

7:30

 

Comment From Joanne
great idea

7:30

 

Comment From Rachel A.
How about a little bell sound when it’s time to go somewhere/do something on a certain day?

7:30

 

Comment From Julie
would see benefits from such an app – but only if somethings had parent/carer control to be moved/deleted – my son is too good at deleting things he doesn’t liek

7:31

 

Julie – great point

7:31

 

Comment From charlene
i would love to see this kind of app, def since my son is very digital and computer oriented

7:31

 

Comment From julie hudy
Hallelujah – calendar with spots to put pictures of whats happening each day. I used to print them out and make my own calendar!!!

7:31

 

Comment From Cindy
I think this would be great for older children. Therefore I cannot opine. My 6 year old would have no interest in this at all. However, if proven to work, I’m sure we could incorporate it into our daily routine.

7:31

 

Comment From Donna
I would like to see an app like that via. voice recording ,then reminds them of it later .

7:31

 

Comment From Jeremy
yes..the ability to “lock” the app would be nice..like in Grembe’s iReward

7:31

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
Even the high-functioning kids need prompting during school, ideally silently. (e.g. at beginning of period take out materials; 5 minutes before end write down homework)

7:31

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
My daughter uses a visual schedule at school to help her know what activities comes next. That functionality in a app, tied to alarms and real times would be nice. The droid rings, she looks at it and sees a picture of what she is supposed to do next.

7:32

 

Comment From Jeremy
Also the concept of changes in schedule would be nice to have built-in

7:32

 

Comment From Jeremy
Jerry Scott – that sounds more like task analysis than a calendar

7:33

 

Jeremy – there are a bunch of concepts wrapped into this, you are right!

7:33

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
It would also be great if parents/teachers/caregivers could insert and edit reminder elements remotely, and if the app could incorporate an achievement tracker (i.e. “Did you do this? YES/NO) for both incentivizing and data collection.

7:33

 

A way to input changes to let users know would be crucial

7:33

 

Comment From Valentino
Daily life skills !!!!!!

7:33

 

Comment From Rachel
I homeschool, and I think that if I could record my voice or his grandmas voice telling him it’s time to do something, he would love it, and incorporate pictures of what we are doing that day too!

7:34

 

A block on the app is key also for the caregiver, as well a way to allow users to create their own schedules to give them a sense of control.

7:34

 

Comment From julie hudy
wow – sounds like the calendar question has alot of wonderful ideas!

7:34

 

Comment From Cory and Kristy
We like the calender idea , something like that would help her understand more about days months and years than her day after day routines

7:34

 

Comment From Jeremy
There are apps out there that do some of these functionalities, but it would be nice to have one app that does it all!!

7:34

 

The concept of time might be worked in here as well – something that counts down to the event/tracks the passage of time.

7:35

 

Comment From Jeremy
It would be nice if there was a module too for child to review/discuss their day with parent/teacher

7:35

 

Comment From PKB
Love it! Schedule, reminders, transition prep. all rolled into one.

7:35

 

Comment From Jeremy
My students complete a daily journal each afternoon to take home

7:36

 

Comment From Julie
i would implement something like this for my 3.5yr old – he is ready I just don’t know the best way to proceed – if it was on the iPad he would be more interested that wall charts etc

7:36

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
One thing that’s clear from this chat, and in all of these types of efforts, is that autism is not “one-size-fits-all.” Both high- and lower-functioning kids on the spectrum benefit from technology. Just not the same type.

7:36

 

Comment From Jeffery
Rachel your idea is great because the teachers are absent sometimes and if they had the voice with commands it would be better for them.

7:36

 

Jonathan – we agree! Have to be little more specific.

7:36

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
Rachel, I’m 45 and still her my Mom’s voice in my head telling me to wipe my feet before I come in the door. You are right that is the voice that gets the best results . . .

7:36

 

Comment From Tim Chafos
and teacher notes/communications folder in this app

7:37

 

Comment From Rachel A.
LOVING the calendar idea!

7:37

 

Comment From Craig
It would be useful if you had activities that you wanted to achieve that the child or the parent choose from for an activity.

7:37

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
We should also keep in mind which devices are likely to pass district muster. Our district was still recommending Alphasmart Danas a few years ago (and for all I know still is).

7:37

 

Comment From Guest
My son is 19, but he is constantly asking what happens today, tomorrow or next week over and over, Calender is good

7:37

 

Comment From maggie
i am wondering if anyone knows how to deal with a high functioning little girl who is so high function she can manipulate anyone into anything and is sooooo good at school but when she comes home she shuts down??? and our school district wont help with a OT. she has sensory issues and i have tried everything. compression, bands, etc.

7:38

 

Comment From Jeremy
A web platform that coud work on all devices would be AMAZING

7:38

 

Comment From charlene
I have my daughter who is non verbal and has autism and i think this device would work wonders in her class to help her communicate and to learn the days of the week and months and time, and school has nothing to help with it..

7:39

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
Jeremy, I agree that would be nice – enter items from my computer and have the result on her phone.

7:41

 

Comment From Charity
This would be a wonderful idea and the calendar/reminder function would be really wonderful for both of our children at home and at school.

7:41

 

Ok, let’s transition to some open discussion and questions… submit any questions or comments you have now!

7:42

 

Comment From Rachel A.
How much would this cost us :)

7:42

 

Rachel -the idea is to develop some apps that are free via Hackathon.

7:44

 

Comment From Jerry Scott
We touched on the different needs across the spectrum. I’d like to see some discussion on how we can identify those differences and help people know what apps would be appropriate for their kids.

7:45

 

great question! there are a ton of apps. Autism Speaks has a list but talk to your local service providers.

7:45

 

Comment From Craig
Could you elaborate how the hackathon would work?

7:46

 

Craig – in mid-October developers will literally get together with the top ideas and the Hackathon team to create apps!

7:46

 

Comment From Tim Chafos
Will the ideas suggested in this chat be posted/accessable somewhere after?

7:46

 

Tim – yep, all archived at www.autismspeaks.org/hackchat

7:46

 

Comment From Cindy
I am in LOVE with the idea to have apps. Can we make sure to somehow categorize them based on levels of understanding and interaction?

7:47

 

Comment From Craig
How well is the developer recruitment coming along?

7:47

 

Craig – incredible actually!

7:47

 

Comment From Lise
Are we talking about computer apps, phone apps or both?

7:48

 

we don’t know yet Lise!

7:48

 

Comment From Autism Help
Perhaps there could also be appt that is also connected to say a watch device. This will let you know his location at all times and can communicate back to you. Of course it’s by no means a substitute to parental supervision.

7:48

 

Autism Help – phone devices with GPS could manage this possibly

7:49

 

Comment From Karen
This will be live on the intenet right? So that I may hear the show? Thanks so much.

7:49

 

Karen – it’s a text chat only – no audio :)

7:49

 

Comment From Julie
this sounds like an incredible initiative – so worthwhile. I wish you all success

7:49

 

The entire team thanks you Juile!

7:50

 

Comment From Diane
Anyone know of an app that could plug into safari or IE that can be developed to read a word back? My daughter loves reading on her iPad and PC because she can adjust the font size (visually impaired too) but sometimes get frustrated when she doesn’t know a word. It would be great to just touch the word and have the device just say it back to her.

7:50

 

Diane – this exists – in Chrome for sure… trying to think of the name of the plug in…

7:51

 

Comment From Jonathan Ezor
Diane: Not sure about browsers, but most operating systems (Windows for sure) have accessibility features including readback.

7:51

 

Comment From Cory and Kristy
We have 6 kids and something like this would be a great help

7:53

 

Wow, that was terrific! We’re going to have to wrap the chat up now… THANK YOU for participating!

7:53

 

If you are in the NY/NJ/CT area on Sept 17 and 18, we’ll be at Maker Faire… stop by if you are planning to attend and watch the Autism Speaks Facebook/Twitter/web site for information and volunteer opportunities.

7:53

 

Phi will be talking about Hacking Autism on Saturday at 2:30!

7:54

 

That’s all for tonight – thanks everyone!