Interactive Technologies for Autism SIG at ACM Conference

Innovative Technology for Autism
Cure Autism Now (CAN) and Autism Speaks are sponsoring “Interactive Technologies for Autism,” a Special Interest Group at this year’s Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Computer-Human Interaction conference in San Jose, Calif., on April 28. The Special Interest Group will bring together leading researchers, developers and clinicians to impact the development of products that improve the lives of individuals with autism. CAN and Autism Speaks’ Innovative Technology for Autism chair Daniel Gillette and Georgia Institute of Technology doctoral candidate Gillian Hayes have organized the Special Interest Group.

Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthesis

ESP Device

Many people diagnosed with autism have difficulties with social situations and processes, including communication. This can cause significant problems to the person’s ability to function appropriately in traditional educational and workplace environments. The Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthesis (ESP) project, from MIT’s Media Lab, is seeking to find new ways with which technology can be used as an assistive and therapuetic device to foster learning and improve social interaction, communication and emotion reading and understanding abilities in people with autism.

Visit the ESP Project Site.

Combining Music and Technology to Treat Autism


Tod Machover is an MIT composer/inventor who is using music and technology to treat and heal people suffering from autism, Alzheimer’s Disease and other afflictions. His Hyperscore software program (free to download) allows children and adults with no musical background to compose music.

Watch a video profile on Tod Machover here.

Read more about Tod Machover, his music and his projects here.

Visit his personal web site.

Using your Brain as a Game Controller

Centre for the Mind

This article from ZDNet may have future implications for autistic children and adults….

    “A new game platform apparently makes it possible to manipulate a virtual world with one’s thoughts and emotions. Emotiv Systems unveiled on Wednesday a brain/computer interface system with a helmet and software applications at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The Project Epoc system can move objects based on a gamer’s thoughts, reflect facial expressions and respond to the excitement or calm the gamer displays, the company said.

    One of Emotiv Systems’ four co-founders is Allan Snyder, director of The Centre for the Mind, a joint venture of the Australian National University and the University of Sydney.”

Radio Interview with author Portia Iverson and Debra Mandel

Portia Iverson

Ideastream’s Eric Wellman recently spoke with Portia Iverson about how she taught her son to communicate, and with Deborah Mandel, head of the Monarch School for Children with Autism in Shaker Heights, OH and contributor to Autism Ahead. Portia Iverson’s web site which includes information about her new book is located at

Listen to the interview.

Kennedy Krieger Institute Launches First National Online Autism Registry

Interactive Autism Network

Kennedy Krieger Institute announced the launch of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), the first national online autism registry.Parents are filled with questions about autism, and, unfortunately, researchers are still struggling with many of the same questions. IAN brings these two groups together in a way that’s never been done before, through an online registry, to find answers.

LINKX, an Electronic Language Toy for Autistic Toddlers

Helma van Rijn, graduate student at the Delft University Of Technology in the Netherlands, has developed LINKX, an interactive toy that stimulates the language development of autistic children. The site includes a video (with subtitles) of the prototype of the unit and demonstrations with three children.

Watching Videos can Help Children with Autism Learn Social Skills

child watching video

Two new studies at Indiana University demonstrate that videos depicting exemplary behaviors can be effective in helping children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders develop social skills and daily living skills.

Lead researcher Scott Bellini said these findings will help to identify video modeling as a worthwhile strategy for educators and child development professionals in a field lacking proven methods of treatment.

Read more.