HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT – DRAFT 4 & SURVEY BOARD WIREFRAME

This thesis presents the hypothesis that a shared experience design methodology can elicit empathy in neurotypical adolescents for their peers with autism to mitigate bullying.

In contrast to existing anti-bullying campaigns that emphasize the criminalization of bullying to be a deterrent, a visual, interactive approach can engage with this cohort to stimulate a more direct, emotional response.

Such a hypothesis could offer new approaches towards anti-bullying education, technological resources, and awareness campaigns that help adolescents realize empathy and how to be compassionate regarding others’ differences.

Survey Board_draft

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT – Draft 3

This thesis presents the hypothesis that shared experiences can elicit empathy in neuro-typical children (between the ages of 10 and 13) for children on the autism spectrum to mitigate bullying.

In contrast to school anti-bullying campaigns and literal representations of bullying that emphasize the criminalization of bullying to be a deterrent, a visual, interactive approach can engage with children to stimulate a more direct, emotional response.

Such a hypothesis could offer a new approach towards anti-bullying propaganda, or enhance current efforts to give children perspective on how to be compassionate regarding others’ differences.

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT DRAFT & REVISED RESEARCH OUTLINE

This thesis presents the hypothesis that interactive visual simulations can elicit empathy in neuro-typical children (between the ages of 10 and 13) for children on the autism spectrum to lessen the instances of bullying.

In contrast to school anti-bullying campaigns that show literal representations of bullying and emphasize the criminalization of bullying as a deterrent, an aesthetic approach can engage with children to stimulate a more direct, emotional response.

Such a hypothesis could offer a new approach towards anti-bullying campaigns, or enhance current efforts to give children perspective on how to be compassionate regarding others’ differences.

REVISED RESEARCH OUTLINE

PAST | Growth in Autism, Instances of Bullying, and Empathy in Child Development

  1. What it’s like being a child with autism
  2. Increased diagnoses and reports of bullying
  3. History of bullying
  4. Common misconceptions and misunderstandings about children with autism
  5. Why empathy is critical and how do children develop empathy?

PRESENT | The “Integrated” Classroom & Anti-Bullying Tactics/Campaigns

  1. The integrated classroom — the pros and cons of mixing with neuro-typical children
  2. Anti-bullying, empathy, and autism awareness campaigns — overview of organizations/resources for the autistic community and successes and failures
  3. Opportunities for interaction between neuro-typical and autistic children
  4. Level of engagement and interactivity of bullying campaigns
  5. Parent/Teacher Wish Lists
  6. Examples of learned empathy in the classroom

FUTURE | Accepting that we’re all Different, but Equal

  1. Tapping childrens’ senses — engage to gain acceptance
  2. How aesthetics and visual aids stimulate emotional connection
  3. How interaction aids in emotional connection
  4. Accepting autism = accepting all differences: refining the approach to anti-bullying

Survey: Parents of Children with Autism & Interview

Survey distributed via Facebook by posting to 30+ autism-related pages.
Yielded 37 responses (as of 10/19/14).

See presentation for questions & results:

Interview conducted with mother of a boy with autism.
Age 10 who is in both inclusive & exclusive classroom settings.

Interview:

Excerpts:

Q: Do you think it helps to have him mixed with neurotypical kids, for the social aspects?

I think that sometimes he does connect more with other kids that are on the spectrum. Like I have him in a class on Saturdays with The Family Center of Autism, and he plays Minecraft Mania with this kid there with Asperger’s. He’s 13 years old, high-functioning in regular classes in his school — and so for the first time I heard him have a real conversation for like 15 minutes with this kid about Minecraft, I mean maybe he could talk to a typical kid about it — but they wouldn’t want to talk about it only like he does — it’s one of his symptoms. It’s very hard for them to have a typical conversation with another person, because they don’t want to talk about Minecraft all day long like him.

Q: What about in terms of bullying?

Last year in a typical class — mostly in the after care, sometimes during lunch when it wasn’t as supervised — the other kids would tell him to go tell a girl that he loves her or something and he would do it because he doesn’t know any better — he’s missing that social … gene I guess. They would also tell him to curse and he would do it and they would laugh — and he thinks they’re laughing with him but they’re really laughing at him. There was also some times when the kids called him stupid, retarded — like at camp this past summer. It was a typical camp that he was in though so that’s hard.

Q: I was thinking of a buddy system of some sort, like linking them by common interest, like Minecraft — thoughts?

Yea that would be good. They need some role models.

Revised Statement, Hypothesis, & Experiment #1

STATEMENT

Exposing the communication limitations and difficulties that middle school children on the autism spectrum’s high functioning or aspergers side face when interacting with neurotypical children can foster empathy and lull the instances of bullying.

STATEMENT (revised)

I am studying the communication gaps between children on the high functioning autism spectrum and neurotypical children, because I want to uncover their perspectives regarding their physical and psychological differences, to encourage empathy and positive interactions that help lull the instances of bullying.

HYPOTHESIS

Developing interactive experiences for neurotypical children that are centered around showing the unique perspectives of autistic children will help neurotypical children learn tolerance and understanding.

HYPOTHESIS (revised)

Visual-focused, interactive learning experiences can show the unique perspectives of autistic children in a more engaging way, stimulating an emotional response in neurotypical children such as empathy, which in turn garner more acceptance of differences.

RESEARCH OUTLINE

  1. PAST | The Growth in Autism & Awareness
    1. What is Autism?
    2. Increase in Diagnosis and Reports of Bullying
    3. Common Misconceptions
    4. Be Aware of “Awareness” Campaigns
  2. PRESENT | The “Blended” Classroom & Anti-Bullying Campaigns
    1. Pros and Cons of Classroom “Blending”
    2. History of Anti-bullying Campaigns — Successes and Failures
    3. Aesthetics and Interactivity of Bullying Programs
    4. Examples of Empathy in the Classroom
    5. Survey of Organizations/Resources for the Autistic Community
    6. Parent/Teacher Wish Lists
  3. FUTURE | Different, but Equal
    1. Tapping into our Childrens’ Senses — Engage to Gain Acceptance
    2. Visual Aids to Stimulate Emotions and Empathy
    3. Accepting Autism = Accepting All Differences

EXPERIMENT #1:

Interview children about what they know about disabilities and bullying.

Devin (age 17)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108086084″>Devin Age17</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Frank (age 15)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108087248″>Frank Age15</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Anthony (age 13)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108087022″>Anthony Age13</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Jonah (age 12)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108086950″>Jonah Age12</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Noah (age 11)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108087326″>Noah Age11</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108086121″>Noah Age11 PTII</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Nate (age 10)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108087138″>Nate Age10</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Leah (age 8)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108087274″>Leah Age8</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Experiment Idea #2:
Interview parents of autistic kids about the struggles their kids face being interacting with neurotypical kids — solicit personal experiences of their child being bullied and try to determine where the communication/interaction went wrong.

Methods

  1. Interviews during events for the autism community — can attend a Saturday bowling league for autistic kids and their parents; friend’s nephew with autism, Mathew Mooney)
  2. Surveys sent via social media to autism advocacy pages/blogs
  3. Perhaps one-on-one interviews with autistic adults on their experiences and what messages they’d like to get across to neurotypicals about their disability

Experiment Idea #3:
Empathy experiments with neurotypical kids — place them in scenarios where they see the perspective of an autistic child trying to learn or communicate — sensory simulations of competing sounds, images, and/or touch

  1. Film reading regular sentence and time, then have them read a different sentence where the words and letters are jumbled and time
  2. Show them images of facial expressions that could be misinterpreted and record what they think they mean
  3. Flash rapid images while reading a short story (mix of images that do and do not relate to story) and ask them what the story was about, or what they remember
  4. Reading comprehension exercise — one with amplified background noises/distractions and one with none; perhaps instead of reading comprehension, a series of rapid questioning to induce an element of stress amid distractions, and normal questioning with distractions

Statement, Experiment Ideas, and Research for Discussion

STATEMENT

I am studying middle school children, ages 9 through 14 that are on the autism spectrum on the high functioning or aspergers side, because I want to find out their communication limitations, mannerisms, and quirks in order to educate neurotypical children about the disorder and help them empathize with autism so that we can lull the instances of bullying by learning to accept and embrace differences.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
-Albert Einstein

EXPERIMENT IDEAS

Idea #1:
Interview kids about bullying and their awareness around disabilities.

1. What is bullying?
2. Have you seen bullying?
3. Have you ever been bullied?
4. How does it make you feel?
5. Why do you think kids bully?
6. Have you ever bullied anyone?
7. Do you know what a disability is? Please describe it or give an example.
8. Are there disabled kids in your class? How do you know?
9. Have you seen one of these kids being bullied?
10. How would you feel being picked on for something you can’t help?

Idea #2:
Guage parents of autistic kids on their feelings about inclusion with neurotypical kids in and outside the classroom, and solicit personal experiences with their child being bullied.

  • Interviews during events for the autism community (upcoming on 9/26/14:  Adventureland Night Out in Suffolk LI, Autism Speaks fundraising walks – 9/28 in Staten Island or 10/5 in LI, Saturday bowling league – Mathew Mooney)
  • Surveys sent via social media to autism advocacy pages/blogs
  • One-on-one interviews

Perhaps also interview autistic adults on their experiences and what messages they’d like to get across to neurotypicals about their disorder.

Idea #3:
Run empathy experiments with neurotypical kids — put them in situations where they receive the perspective of an autistic child trying to learn or communicate — sensory simulations of competing sounds, images, and/or touch

Note:  Would require developing the simulation prior to experimentation

Simulation example:  Carly’s Cafe

RESEARCH

Online Sources:

Films/documentaries – watched:

  • United States of Autism (2013)
  • HBO Emmy Award winning movie, Temple Grandin (2010)
  • A Mother’s Courage:  Talking Back to Autism (2009)
  • Ben X (2007)
  • Rain Man (1988)

Books – picked up for further reading:

KidsintheSyndromeMix FiresintheMiddleSchoolBathroom It'sSoMuchWorktobeYourFriend CouncilforExceptionalChildrenIamutterlyUnique

Mind Download Exercise

PRESENTATION:

MOVIE CLIP:  Mask Movie (1985)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/105517988″>Mask Registration</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

MUSIC CLIP: Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Allright (1998)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/105509880″>Offspring KidsAren’tAlright</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

POLITICAL STATEMENT: Charlie Chaplin “A Message for All Humanity”:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/105515966″>CharlieChaplin MessageforAllHumanity</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

INTRIGUING PERSONAL BEHAVIOR: Rickshaw driver – Optimism Despite Poverty

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/105508159″>PoorOptimism</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/potentev”>Victoria Potente</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

CIVIC BEHAVIOR:  Ohio Autistic Teen – ALS Challenge
http://ktla.com/2014/09/03/bullies-douse-ohio-boy-with-bodily-fluids-cigarettes-for-ice-bucket-challenge-mom-says/

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