Brigham Younger College College students Create Glasses To Assist Autistic Youngsters Enhance Eye Contact
For Heidi Krenshaw, mother of a 7-year-old autistic boy, it was always a challenge to get him to make eye contact. During a therapy session, Heidi and the therapist noticed that he was too fixated on a Mickey Mouse show to be allowed to watch as a reward and not listen to his mother. “I wish I could just put Mickey Mouse on my face!” Heidi exclaimed.
Although this statement resulted from frustration, the idea stayed with Heidi and she decided to do something about it. She turned to several engineers around the world and came up with the idea of creating glasses that show cartoons on the surface that somehow help children with autism make eye contact. She was told it either wasn’t possible or it would cost millions of dollars to earn. Finally, she introduced it to the Engineering Capstone program at Brigham Young University, where she was matched with six students who would ultimately help make her dream a reality.
The team had several ideas and created a prototype of the glasses within a few months. This is how it works: The therapist wears the glasses that show the animation on the lenses. The opacity of the lenses can be controlled by the therapist. When the session starts, the opacity can be set to 100% so the child only sees the animation. Gradually, the opacity can be reduced until the child sees the therapist’s eyes. At this point the therapist can begin regular therapy classes.
These glasses can trigger a reaction in the child’s brain that allows them to be more comfortable with therapists and to complete language classes with ease. Heidi believes that these glasses can help children with autism to interact more safely with others in addition to therapy class.
Check out the video below to learn more about these glasses and read the source link for more details.
Source: Brigham Young University
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