Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Cheryl Wright, Marissa Diener, Louise Dunn, Scott D. Wright (2011) SketchUp™: A Technology Tool to Facilitate Intergenerational Family Relationships for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 01/2011

This study used a qualitative design to examine intergenerational relationships facilitated by an intervention employing Google SketchUp™, a freeware 3D design program. Seven high-functioning boys (ages 8–17) with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) participated in computer workshops. The investigators capitalized on the boys’ strengths in visual–spatial skills. The interdisciplinary team structured the workshops to facilitate computer skill development as well as social interaction. Qualitative analysis involved thematic analysis of transcripts from focus groups with parents and grandparents. The two key themes that emerged were as follows: (i) reframing expectations (parental efficacy and creating a safe environment) and (ii) building intergenerational bridges among parents, children, siblings, and grandparents. These findings indicate that technology can build on the strengths of children with ASD and promote social engagement of the children with their families.

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