Co-design A Multisensory Tool To Support Collaborative Play With and For Autistic Children: A Methodological Approach

Mohamad Hassan Fadi Hijab, Nahwan Al Aswadi, Shaza Khatab, Dena Al-Thani, Joselia Neves, Marwa Qaraqe, Achraf Othman, and Noora Alsulaiti

Workshop: Interacting with Assistive Technology (IATech) Workshop @ INTERACT’23 | 2023

This paper introduces a co-design methodology aimed at the development of a multisensory tool to facilitate collaborative play among autistic children, a demographic traditionally underrepresented in the co-design process. Due to challenges in social and communication skills, autistic children may experience difficulties in engaging in collaborative play. Co-design is used to effectively incorporate the perspectives of all stakeholders, including researchers, developers, and end users when developing a new product. In this work, the co-design methodology was devised following an extensive contextual inquiry study involving interviews and observational sessions of 18 autistic children, based in a disability center and an inclusive school, in Qatar. The research method involves sequential and interconnected stages of logistics setup, familiarization, pair interaction, co-design, and testing, each laying the groundwork for the subsequent phase. Future endeavors should focus on validating and enhancing this co-design approach to ensure its efficacy and adaptability to vary-ing contexts and user needs.