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MAS: Technology Enhanced Learning for Children with Severe Intellectual Disabilities and Cerebral Paralysis

There are many educational support software tools designed for young adults and children. However, these systems are in many cases difficult to use for children with intellectual disabilities, who, in many cases present also other kind of disabilities: impaired vision, hearing disabilities, etc. Moreover, each of these children presents one or many disabilities at specific grade levels. In this scenario, commercial software that is usually based on generalization is not a valid approach for people with disabilities that need fully configurable platforms, able to be adapted to their particular needs.

MAS is a platform designed to support educational activities with a special target: people with intellectual disabilities and cerebral paralysis. 3.1 Overview Architecture MAS is designed as an aggregation of three main modules as depicted in Figure 1. These modules are: user management module, that allows to do the maintenance of users and their disabilities; games management module, that allow maintenance games (create, configure, personalize); and games zone, the module that allow play games and perform activities.

Through User Management module, administrators can define and maintain particularities about students. This allows administrators to define disabilities, grades of disabilities and displays and inputs applicable (sweeps) for a given user. The final aim is to define the set of games and aids to be configured for the user. Games management module is the one responsible of the matching between children needs and activities available.

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This feature is very important since some people with cerebral paralysis have difficulty to recognize pictures or photographs, and they need specific images to interact with the application. Educators must be aware that certain users can get a fright if listen certain sounds and to prevent this, using this 14 R. Colomo-Palacios et al. Fig. 1.

MAS Architecture module is crucial to adapt the stimulus to users. Using this module, educators can adapt images, videos and sounds to children’s activities in a fully configurable way. Games zone is the one dedicated to play games. These games will be shown adapted to user’s disabilities in order to let user interact with the game using specific inputs. Thus, this module reads personal configuration set up to provide the specific version of each game, bearing in mind user’s disabilities, and specifics multimedia resources.

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This module is designed to serve also as a learning support system. To do so, the system automatically stores the time consumed by the user, the number of right and wrong answers, timestamp, the user, and many other data. This is a very important feature because it allows instructors check users’ progress.

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