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August 28, Polly Oskam (LIACS, Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science) successfully defended her thesis on the use of tablets in non-speaking individuals with a severe form of Autism Spectrum Disorder.


During her Graduation Presentation, Evelien was present to ask critical questions. Under supervision of Jaap van den Herik (LIACS) and Carolien, Polly examined whether the individuals with ASD were able to learn using the touch-based interface of a tablet. The outcomes of her study are promising. Whilst not introduced to a tablet before, participants acquired the basics (i.e., pointing and drag-and-drop) within a short amount of time. After a few sessions, some were able to independently solve simple jigsaw puzzles. The outcomes of Polly’s study also indicated that individuals with a severe form of ASD needed an intellectual challenging online environment to stay motivated.