Date: Thursday, July 14, 2022 9:15 AM- Thursday, July 14, 2022 10:15 AM
Preserving play in pediatric neurodegenerative disorders: a case study
Authors: Loren McMahon ( Boston Children's Hospital ); Abbie King ( Boston Children's Hospital )
Play is a crucial occupation that supports psychosocial, cognitive, and physical development and provides a child with opportunities to discover new areas of interest, practice advocacy, and learn group skills. It is considered a human right and Occupational Therapists (OT) and Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) with knowledge of assistive technology (AT) and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems are posed to provide play opportunities for children with progressive neurodegenerative disorders (PND). These children require additional and consistent modifications to engage in play as their physical, cognitive, and communicative profiles change not only due to their age and typical developmental trajectory but also due to regressions across domains of their diagnosis. Through a case study discussion of patient “D”, a 6-year-old male diagnosed with Juvenile Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, an OT and SLP from the Boston Children’s Hospital Augmentative Communication Program discuss the initial evaluation of the child and the multimodal dynamic recommendations made to support increased participation across play domains as D experienced cognitive and motor changes due to his diagnosis. Research has demonstrated that for individuals with PND, play positively affects not only the child but their entire family, promoting resiliency and a greater understanding of their diagnosis. Health professionals who recommend AT and AAC for children with PNDs must consider and support play as a primary domain throughout the therapeutic process.
Designing an app for alternative access assessments: using prototypes and user studies to evaluate and improve the design
Authors: Heidi Koester ( Koester Performance Research ); Susan Fager ( Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital ); Erik Jakobs ( Penn State University ); Tabatha Sorenson ( Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital )
There are many alternative access methods, such as alternative keyboards or hands-free mice, that can enable people with motor impairments to access a computer, tablet, or smartphone. But people don’t always get methods that are the best fit for their needs. One reason is a lack of an integrated toolkit to support the assessment process. To address this problem, we’re developing a software app (the Access Assistant) that guides assistive technology (AT) teams through an assessment process that includes initial assessment of user needs and abilities, identification and trials of candidate solutions, and final selection and implementation of access methods.
This project employs a user-centered design process to create and evaluate prototype designs iteratively before implementing them in software. In this paper, we describe how we’re using this process and present a specific study conducted to obtain user feedback on our prototype design.
Velocity-based gesture segmentation of continuous movements during virtual reality exergaming
Author: Bradley Duerstock (Purdue University)
Gesture segmentation plays an important role in gesture recognition during virtual reality (VR) gameplay used during rehabilitative therapy. Existing techniques of gesture segmentation often require external triggers such as voice or buttons, which can interrupt gameplay. A novel segmentation technique was developed that can automatically delimit temporal end effector movement data into individual gesture velocity profiles in individuals with tetraplegia. This was performed using a commercially available VR system with high- frequency and high-resolution trackers. This gesture segmentation technique uses changes in velocity of continuous movement above an established threshold to discriminate the start and end of intentional gestures from those at rest. These thresholds were unique to each individual and were measured using a previously validated baseline VR tool. Additionally, no external triggers are required to perform this gesture segmentation. The profiled gestures were confirmed through visual inspection of VR gameplay video recordings using a mixed reality setup. This gesture segmentation technique has multiple applications when extracting intentional gestures during continuous VR gameplay, in particular allowing clinical therapists to track the frequency and distribution of user movements for at-home rehabilitation.