LUMS in collaboration with Autism Spectrum Disorders Welfare Trust (ASDWT) organised the World Autism Awareness Day at LUMS. The purpose was to raise awareness about Autism and to show how assistive technologies can be used to improve the quality of the lives of autistic children in Pakistan.
The Human Computer Interaction Lab (Chisel) at LUMS, directed by faculty member, Dr. Suleman Shahid along with his students, is working on a project, AGHAZ, which aims at developing a number of digital aids to support autistic children at various stages of their development. The work is done in collaboration with ASDWT and the Rising Sun Institute, Lahore.
Autistic kids are isolated from society due to the communication gap that exists because of them being either nonverbal or having articulation issues. In Pakistan, it is absolutely essential for these children to be able to communicate in Urdu in order to bridge this gap. AGHAZ is the application that aims to cater to this need. It can be used by teachers/therapists and parents to work with these special children and help them learn Urdu.
AHSAS, The Emotional Express, another mobile application developed by LUMS students, aims to provide an interactive interface that helps autistic children understand their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It also focuses on improving their social interaction; understanding emotions in a social context and being able to react to everyday situations effectively.
The third app, also developed by LUMS students, BOL is an AAC application designed with a focus to develop a child’s language and improve his intent to communicate. It uses picture symbols and voice synthesis in Urdu as well as English to help users create messages. Bol seamlessly integrates a powerful keyboard to help children transition from images to text.