Emotional Development of Autistic Students through Touch-Activated Hexagonal Lights: A Pilot Study
In pursuit of educational equity for autistic students, this pilot study investigates the effectiveness of integrating touch-activated hexagonal lights with the SCERTS model and Zones of Regulation framework to support their social and emotional development. Conducted in a special education classroom with nine autistic students aged 16 to 18 years, the study addresses the challenges faced by students who struggle to communicate their emotions using conventional methods, such as communication boards or verbal expression. By offering an alternative, interactive, and age-appropriate intervention, the hexagonal lights aim to foster autonomy and engagement in social communication.
The intervention involved touch-activated hexagonal lights during social communication, emotional regulation, and transactional support activities, allowing students to tap the hexagon representing their current emotional state. Results indicate that the use of hexagonal lights alongside the SCERTS model and Zones of Regulation framework positively impacted the students' social and emotional development, leading to improved communication and decreased challenging behaviours.
This study contributes to the conference theme of 'Equity, Inclusion, and Disability' by providing preliminary evidence for an innovative approach to support autistic students' social and emotional development. The integration of technology with evidence-based strategies presents a promising avenue for creating inclusive and supportive learning environments that promote equity in education during times of crisis.
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