Autism AppJam

May 1st, 2014  |  Published in News

The 2nd Annual UCI Autism AppJam was a huge success! Over 25 teams created applications to help people with autism and their families.

Gillian Hayes and Kate Ringland are quoted in a recent article in the O.C. Register:.

UC Irvine graduate student Kate Ringland’s team created a dance therapy application for Kinect. The application challenges students to mimic dance moves next to cartoon-like characters on the console. The game can help players become more aware of their bodies, which is often a struggle for some children with autism, said Ringland, 29.

Applications like these can fill a need in the autism community for more and cheaper types of therapy, Hayes said. Instead of paying for hours of dance therapy, an application could serve many of the functions of some professional therapists.

Congratulations to STAR’s own Kate Ringland and Oliver Haimson, as well as their teammates Mengyao Zhao, Nathan Major, and Khalidh Tokhi, whose application DanceCraft won second place overall as well as the Best Social Media Presence award!

DanceCraft is an innovative game that helps promote physical activity and improve motor coordination in children with autism in an enjoyable and effective manner. The game uses the readily available gaming system Xbox and the popular game MineCraft. Dance Craft encourages children to have fun and get physical activity in the comfort of their home while avoiding the cost involved in dance therapy classes. The earned credits can also be redeemed in transactions in MineCraft.

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