Using multitouch collaboration technology to enhance social interaction of children with high-functioning autism

Eynat Gal, Liron Lamash, Nirit Bauminger-Zviely, Massimo Zancanaro, Patrice L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims. Children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) have major difficulties in social communication skills, which may impact their performance and participation in everyday life. The goal of this study was to examine whether the StoryTable, an intervention paradigm based on a collaborative narrative, multitouch tabletop interface, enhanced social interaction for children with HFASD, and to determine whether the acquired abilities were transferred to behaviors during other tasks. Methods. Fourteen boys with HFASD, aged 7-12 years, participated in a 3-week, 11-session intervention. Social interactions during two nonintervention tasks were videotaped at three points in time, one prior to the intervention (pre), a second immediately following the intervention (post) and a third three weeks after the intervention (follow-up). The video-recorded files were coded using the Friendship Observation Scale to ascertain the frequencies of positive and negative social interactions and collaborative play. Differences in these behaviors were tested for significance using nonparametric statistical tests. Results. There were significantly higher rates of positive social interactions and collaborative play, and lower rates of negative social interactions following the intervention suggesting generalization of the social skills learned during the intervention. Improvement was maintained when tested three weeks later. Conclusion. These findings provide support for the use of collaborative technology-based interventions within educational settings to enhance social interaction of children with HFASD.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
Issue number1
Early online date30 Sep 2015
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • Children
  • high-functioning autism spectrum disorders
  • social interaction
  • social intervention
  • technology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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