Friday, October 16, 2015


Topic: Children Diagnosed with Developmental Disorders; Research Opportunities in Computing


Presenter: Nirvana Pistoljevic, PhD


Children diagnosed with Developmental Disabilities account for a large spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders like Autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, etc. The main characteristic of this neuro-atypical development is that these children and later adults, interact with the environment in different ways, their brains develop and function differently, they learn in different ways and therefore behave in atypical way. Computer science contribution to this population has been great already, but this is still a vast land of research opportunities barely tapped into. First, understanding the way that brain functions of the people with developmental disabilities is a key to designing interventions and technology that can aid them in every day life. Applications of software like eye-tracking and skin conductivity has just begun to shed the lite on the way people with Autism, for example, visually scan their environment and learn, and what levels of anxiety they feel during those interactions. Children with atypical development often have difficulties communicating. Research in application of technology to help these children communicate and develop social skills is at its infancy, although it offers great potential for transforming the filed. Education of children with disabilities is an existing field and computing sciences are just barely being introduced to aid this process, from interactive educational software, e-books, educational video games, interactive lesson plans, assessment based curricula, etc. Interactive virtual realities have not been explored much with the people with Autism and this is one of the areas that might aid this vulnerable group interact. This talk will explore the opportunities for trans-disciplinary research.