Technologies for Autism: ActivityCoach

September 29th, 2012  |  Published in Projects

For many people living with ASD, remembering detailed schedules can be challenging. However, the static representations of those schedules that are normally used as supports do not represent the dynamic nature of life. A well planned day can be disrupted by a late bus or cancelled work. ActivityCoach is a mobile application that provides dynamic support for changing schedules.

Reminders

Like other digital calendar solutions, ActivityCoach providers a variety of reminders and alerts. Users can select to be reminded about an upcoming event days, hours, or just minutes before it. ActivityCoach also knows how long an event should take. So, it reminds users to wrap up their activities as well. Reminders are delivered in a variety of formats, including sound alerts, text to speech, pop up notifications, and text in the notifications tray.

Flexibility

Unlike other digital calendar solutions, however, ActivityCoach can handle the flexibility many activities require. For example, in an hourly retail job, a worker may be allowed to take a break anytime after working for two hours, and that break should last fifteen minutes. ActivityCoach shows the user options, such as to continue working or to take a break, and reflows the schedule around the choices made.

Connection to Others

As users progress through their days, they mark activities as skipped, completed, or in progress. Because ActivityCoach is connected by the mobile phone network to a central server, others who are interested in this information can check progress in real time. In this way, parents who want to ensure their children made it to work or school or are on the bus headed home can monitor these events. Likewise, job coaches can observe progress hourly or daily and intervene before problems occur. These same people can also configure devices remotely when major activities change or to support scaffolding of new job skills.

This work is in collaboration with Khai Truong at the University of Toronto and CareerLink.

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