By Sarah Purtill
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A – Google Glass had been considered a failure by many. Recently, however, a study was completed concerning Google Glass and children with Autism. In America alone, there are over 3.5 million people who have been diagnosed with some form of Autism. The potential benefits of Glass Enterprise Edition (Glass), the successor to Google Glass smart glasses, were explored in children with autism and their caregivers to evaluate its role within the condition.
The study contained 8 children in different places along the Autism spectrum and of all school ages (6 to 17). The children were given the glasses to inspect and on the glasses were several different assisted-reality apps. The children were all able to take their time inspecting the glasses and becoming comfortable enough to progress to the next part of the study in the interview room. All 8 of the children in the study found Glass to be both useful and practical as communicated by them or when needed, by their caregiver. The children said they did not experience sensory overload or an overwhelming emotional experience.
Additionally, all of the children’s caregivers stated they believed the children appeared to enjoy using Glass. Dr. Ned T. Sahin, the study’s principal investigator was actually surprised at how well both children and caregivers embraced the concept.
“Parents and teachers routinely tell me they are surprised how well children with autism can use Empower Me on Google Glass! It is important to recognize that millions of autistic children and adults struggle to obtain the specialized services they need. This technology will augment the work of their human therapists and teachers, provide game-like, self-motivating ways to practice life skills and add sensor-based data that no human practitioner could otherwise incorporate. The future will be very empowering!”
Although this is a small study and was limited by a short exposure to Google Glass and its’ applications, it is an important movement in validating technology’s role in addressing and assisting with the needs of children with autism. This adds to the growing literature on feasibility and tolerability and together, help establish Glass as a useful clinical tool. Further, Brain Power has secured more than $110,000 in crowd funding to help further develop this kind of technology.
The use of Google Glass can offer real-world tools and assistance for children with autism. The data also suggests that children and caregivers could potentially embrace Google Glass and similar technology in a way that just might make it fun for all.
For more information, please see:
Forbes – Google Glass is a Hit for Children with Autism – 4 January 2018
Science Daily – Google Glass App Helps Autistic Children with Social Interaction – 16 September 2017
STAT – Google Glass is Back – As a Tool to Coach Autistic Children, Train Doctors and More – 29 August 2017