Wednesday, September 19, 2018

'Book End' Animations

I recently posted another Animated Step-by-Step, 6 Brave Firefighters, designed to address the needs of students with Visual Impairments. This resource addresses numbers (1-6), colors (red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange) and the concept of down using high contrast visuals.

In many of the VI resources, I have tried to separate out the important auditory linguistic information from the visual information, using attention-getting 'book end animations' (get the visual attention … present the important auditory linguistic information … maintain the visual attention). For example, when the six firefighters are being counted, the number appears first using the 'grow & turn' animation + an attention getting 'whhhht' sound effect … then you hear the auditory count, "two" … then the number is pulsed 3 times to ensure the child is looking at the correct target item. 

This strategy is being employed to ensure that students with visual impairment have time to 'get a visual lock' on the target visual before the important linguistic information is added. Then … just to be sure … an additional animation is provided to ensure the child's visual focus is correctly on the target visual. 

This 'book ends animation' strategy may also be useful for students on the autism spectrum. Researchers at Hearing & Speech Sciences and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University (Camarata et. al) ( presented two groups of children (with  & without ASD) with audiovisual stimuli and asked them if the 'audio' and the visual events happened at the same time or not. 

According to the researchers, children on the autism spectrum may experience a 'lack of a time lock' between the spoken word and a visual explanation, when that audiovisual information is simultaneously presented. This may suggest that simultaneously presented visual & auditory information may present learning challenges for students on the Autism Spectrum.  

Here's hoping that the manner in which animations and linguistic information are presented to children with Visual Impairments, and possibly to children on the Autism Spectrum, can actually increase the likelihood that learning will occur!!!!

…’til the next post …  

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©2018 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator