ChilDiBu – A Mobile Application for Bulgarian Children with Special Educational Needs
Designing applications adapted to the capabilities of each user is an important part of modern software engineering. Children with Autism spectrum disorder and/or intellectual disabilities are a special group of users where standard application design is not a good approach. Some of them have speech disorders; others have disorders of the musculoskeletal system and in their cognitive development. In the literature, these children are referred to as children with special educational needs. Only a few researchers are involved in the development of various computer technologies, including mobile applications appropriate for these children. Some specialized mobile applications for these users can be found in the different mobile stores. However, most of these apps are rather expensive or with inappropriate user interfaces. Another disadvantage in all the apps is the lack of support in the Bulgarian language. It makes them unusable for the youngest users with special needs in Bulgaria. A conceptual model based on the investigation of some existing applications, the well-established theoretical practices, and on the opinion of children without disorders is proposed in this paper. An approach to designing and developing the interactive mobile application ChilDiBu for children with special needs, suitable for the Windows Phone mobile operating system, is presented. ChilDiBu is a picture-based app that combines graphic images, texts and audio files which can be used to learn the Bulgarian alphabet, the numbers up to 20, some basic colors and the daily activities that children perform. The application is focused on the development of the fine motor skills, observation and decision-making skills which is completed with a puzzle for arranging the two-digit numbers. At the end of the paper the app interface, the way it is used and its app architecture are shown.
children with cognitive disorders; mobile application; mobile development; picture-based apps; child-computer interaction; software engineering
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Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development