Theoretical and Research Background
for Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism
Current autism spectrum disorders (ASD) snapshot:
Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism App
and Learn Together Feature
Application of Theoretical and Research Findings
The Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism app contains warm, animated content and includes various ways to engage with the content (i.e., videos, songs, games, youtube channel).
Children with ASD have strong inclination for media and animation (Mazurek et al., 2013) and research suggests that animated programs such as TeachTownTM and The Transporters© have been efficacious animated programs for children with ASD (Whalen et al, 2010; Golen et al., 2010).
See Beneath seeks to provide resources for all families regardless of geographic or demographic barriers. The app is accessible to all families with internet connection, and the content can be easily downloaded. We are currently working to improve streaming speed.
Current research highlights concerns of a long wait time for ASD diagnosis and treatment (Antezana et al., 2017; Zuckerman et al., 2015) and research suggests that children benefit from early intervention (Landa, 2018).
Our developmental content is appropriate for children between the ages of 2-7 and the app encourages adults to practice skills outside of the app to promote increased skill generalization.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) discourages media use for kids under 18 mo. and encourages constructive non-screen engagement. Children with ASD often struggle to generalize skills across people, places, and stimuli (Schreibman, 2000; Stokes & Baer, 1977).
Each episode and chapter models positive social behavior and uses principles of VM to exaggerate social communication (e.g., pointing, greetings, social reciprocity) and minimize background distractions.
Video modeling (VM) interventions are effective for children with ASD (Charlop-Christy et al,. 2000) and some literature suggests that VM can be successfully implemented by parents (Cardon, 2014).
The innovative aspect of our app is the Learn Together feature in which adults (e.g., parents, teachers, therapists) are encouraged to watch the animation with the child and to help the child practice critical prerequisite skills.
Parents, children, family members, & peers can enjoy every app feature (Play Video, Learn Together, & Skills Games).
Stronger benefits from media use are associated with child and parent viewing content together (Connell et al., 2015).
Research highlights a correlation between child and parent co-using media with increased parental connection, more prosocial behaviors (Coyne et al., 2011), and higher levels of family connectedness (Padilla-Walker et al., 2012).
The Learn Together feature incorporates skills from two research-based curricula: 1) a NDBI called the Early Start Denver Model and 2) Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research.
It’s critical to incorporate developmentally appropriate content in children’s media to support cognitive growth (Blumberg et al., 2019). See Beneath incorporates research-supported principles to ensure parents receive high-quality resources.
The Learn Together feature incorporates developmental principles and has children and parents engage in the learning and engagement activities together.
Research suggests that children learn best when they are engaged as active participants (Kuhl et al., 2003; Yurovsky et al., 2013).
Adults are given cues to provide positive reinforcement (i.e., continued access to the animated content, social praise) after each learning opportunity, called Bubble Times.
Within the scientific field of applied behavior analysis, positive reinforcement is a critical principle in which individuals are more likely to increase behaviors over time after something positive is added to a learning experience immediately after a behavior (Cooper, et al., 2007).