Creating a Spoken Impact

Contacts:VCode & VData Icons

Joshua Hailpern, Karrie G. Karahalios, Jim Halle, Laura DeThorne, Mary-Kelsey Coletto


Technology can improve the life of those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Specifically, some children with ASD are not fortunate enough to acquire the ability to communicate with language on their own. With language being an important method of communication, socialization, and interacting with the world, these children need researchers to develop new solutions to help teach vocalization and speech. Without speech, these children will have difficulty communicating their needs, wants, and emotions, as well as being able to function within society at large.


Through an analysis of existing approaches, we believe there is potential to create a new direction of research, focusing on using technology to encourage meaningful speech in low-functioning children with ASD. Speech would allow these children to express needs, desires and live more normal lives in society. The literature provides strong evidence that interacting with technology often can motivate children with ASD. Further, existing literature shows that real-time visualizations, which act as social mirrors, can influence communication interaction. Therefore, we see the potential of technology to aid teachers in the development of sounds, words, and speech; thereby contributing to what is an exclusively human-to-human interaction. By introducing technology into this form of treatment, we believe we can alleviate a degree of apprehension experienced by the children when interacting with humans, and provide teachers with a new technique to complement and supplement their existing


In order to test whether computer generated stimuli (auditory and/or visual) can be constructed to encourage/reinforce sound production in children with ASD, we have begun the first phase of this research project. Our study attempts to uncover the effect of different permutations of auditory and visual feedback on the vocal production of children in our target population. We have constructed approximately a dozen varying types of visualizations, as well as 4 different metaphors for sound feedback.


Joshua Hailpern, Karrie Karahalios, Jim Halle. Creating a Spoken Impact: encouraging vocalization through audio visual feedback. CHI 2009. pdf -- Movie (23.5 MB)

Joshua Hailpern, Karrie Karahalios, Jim Halle, Laura DeThorne, Mary-Kelsey Coletto. Visualizations: Speech, Language and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Extended Abstracts of CHI 2008. pdf

Joshua Hailpern, Karrie Karahalios, Laura DeThorne, James Halle. Encouraging Speech and Vocalization in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Workshop on Technology in Mental Health. CHI 2008. pdf

Joshua Hailpern. Encouraging Speech and Vocalization in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. ACM SIG ACCESS's Doctoral Consotrium/Winter Newsletter. pdf


We would like to thank NSF-0643502 for their support of this project.