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Article

Empowering Children with ASD and Their Parents: Design of a Serious Game for Anxiety and Stress Reduction †

1
IDLab, iGent Tower—Department of Information Technology, Ghent University—imec, Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 126, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium
2
Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of our conference paper “Using a Serious Game to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder” published in Proceedings of the 13th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, Trento, Italy, 20–23 May 2019.
Sensors 2020, 20(4), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20040966
Received: 17 December 2019 / Revised: 27 January 2020 / Accepted: 7 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by social interaction difficulties and communication difficulties. Moreover, children with ASD often suffer from other co-morbidities, such as anxiety and depression. Finding appropriate treatment can be difficult as symptoms of ASD and co-morbidities often overlap. Due to these challenges, parents of children with ASD often suffer from higher levels of stress. This research aims to investigate the feasibility of empowering children with ASD and their parents through the use of a serious game to reduce stress and anxiety and a supporting parent application. The New Horizon game and the SpaceControl application were developed together with therapists and according to guidelines for e-health patient empowerment. The game incorporates two mini-games with relaxation techniques. The performance of the game was analyzed and usability studies with three families were conducted. Parents and children were asked to fill in the Spence’s Children Anxiety Scale (SCAS) and Spence Children Anxiety Scale-Parents (SCAS-P) anxiety scale. The game shows potential for stress and anxiety reduction in children with ASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder; serious game; anxiety; stress; user empowerment; gamification; human-computer interaction; relaxation techniques; pervasive health Autism Spectrum Disorder; serious game; anxiety; stress; user empowerment; gamification; human-computer interaction; relaxation techniques; pervasive health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carlier, S.; Van der Paelt, S.; Ongenae, F.; De Backere, F.; De Turck, F. Empowering Children with ASD and Their Parents: Design of a Serious Game for Anxiety and Stress Reduction. Sensors 2020, 20, 966. https://doi.org/10.3390/s20040966

AMA Style

Carlier S, Van der Paelt S, Ongenae F, De Backere F, De Turck F. Empowering Children with ASD and Their Parents: Design of a Serious Game for Anxiety and Stress Reduction. Sensors. 2020; 20(4):966. https://doi.org/10.3390/s20040966

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carlier, Stéphanie, Sara Van der Paelt, Femke Ongenae, Femke De Backere, and Filip De Turck. 2020. "Empowering Children with ASD and Their Parents: Design of a Serious Game for Anxiety and Stress Reduction" Sensors 20, no. 4: 966. https://doi.org/10.3390/s20040966

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