Tracking Play And Social Skills Development In Autistic Children Via A Journaling Tool
The purpose of this demonstration project was to design a prototype for a diary and tracking tool for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Concepts underpinning the tool prototype, named ASDiaries, were derived from a review of the literature on the parent role as members of their child’s therapeutic team, the profile of the child with ASD as a play-based learner, and the role of biologically-based sensitivities in environmental interactions.
As a result it was theorized that parents of children with ASD could benefit from a tool that would aid them in monitoring/capturing biologically based sensitivities, as well as to record developing social and interactive skills in play. It was reasoned that the act of recording and sharing this data would enable parents to better communicate with their child's service providers in a shared clinical language, and to enable the families themselves to continue to build connections with their children and to help them develop greater competencies in interacting with people and their environment. Additionally, the tool is also intended to offer the ability to observe their recorded proof of their child's growth, development, and ability to connect, and to feel hope for having made progress.
To demonstrate the ability to disseminate the tool to the widest array of AS parents, the prototype was created in web, smartphone, iPad, and paper-based versions. Utilizing a set of fictional cases to test data input, a panel of expert reviewers – parents of children with ASD and professionals who work with these families – provided feedback on the tool’s content. The reviewers found that the tool’s design and multiple available versions would accomplish the intended goals of helping a wide variety of parents of children with ASD to communicate effectively with their treatment providers, to monitor the child's development and progress toward program goals, and to promote the parents' ability to observe improvement over time. A discussion of this feedback and additional user suggestions were incorporated into the final version of the prototype. Possibilities for future product development, research, and clinical applications are also discussed.
0622: Clinical psychology