Animated Language Learning (ALL)

Student: Kyle Sommerfield, 2019-2020

Sponsor: Animated Language Learning, Galway, Ireland

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face significant difficulty in the development of language skills, an important component of social and cognitive functioning. Current interventions focus on behavior management rather than addressing the underlying deficits limiting the child. With consideration of the unique visual learning capabilities of children with ASD, Animated Language Learning (ALL) has developed an innovative software platform that uses Disney and Pixar animation to create a familiar and engaging language learning environment. The child is presented with scenes from a particular Disney movie and responds to relevant questions displayed with stills from the scene. The subject matter of these questions ranges from simple nouns and verbs to abstract concepts like emotion. The platform will then present stills from various other Disney movies that also illustrate the assessed concept to promote generalizability. With this focus on the conceptual understanding of language, ALL provides children with ASD with important skills that allow them to live rich and fulfilling lives rather than facing the social isolation and institutionalization that is too often their norm.