2018 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Be Creative - Innovative Solutions for an Inclusive Life,” reminds us to think outside the box during times of uncertainty. Creativity, innovation, and determination can pave the way for meaningful and inclusive lives for people with disabilities.

Thursday, November 29 • 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Exploring the Use of Live Animation and Virtual Characters (Avatars) to Teach Social Skills to Individuals with Disabilities Seating Available

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Limited Capacity seats available

This presentation will present the results of a study evaluating the effectiveness of utilizing live animation and virtual characters (avatars) to teach social skills to students with disabilities. Results from the study will be discussed along with suggestions for practitioners wishing to use live animation or avatars with their students. Research has established that competence in social exchanges is one of the key components of academic success and school engagement (Kindermann, 2007); however, for some individuals with disabilities, deficits in social skills can have detrimental impact in other domains as well (Hsiao, Tseng, Huang, & Gau, 2013). Especially for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID). As is evidenced by the literature some individuals with disabilities lack adequate social skills which impacts all aspects of their life. One method showing promise to teach social skills is live animation and virtual learning. Live animation is where students interact with an animated character (avatar) that is being controlled in real time by another person. So imagine that the student is in a room and talking to a avatar (think Nemo) on a TV screen and the character is able to carry on a conversation with the student that is natural and not scripted. The avatar can also deliver instruction such as coaching the student in the appropriate ways to start, maintain and end a conversation or how to read facial expressions ("this is what I look like when I am sad"). Utilizing live animation and avatars has the promise of reaching some students more effectively that a human could and therefore would lead to increased learning opportunities. The students can then generalize what they learned from the avatar to interactions with other humans. Animate Live explored the effectiveness of live animation as an instructional method, whether virtual learning/live animation is cost effective compared to traditional video modeling and face-face teaching methods and if virtual learning/live animation is a socially valid way of delivering instruction. This topic is important to the field because social skills play a crucial role in being able to function independently in today's society and technology has the potential to increase the effectiveness of the interventions we use to teach these skills. Developing more effective ways of teaching social skills has the potential to improve students' lives in multiple domains. The conceptual orientation to the presentation is research-to-practice. The presentation aligns with the conference themes by harnessing technology in a creative and innovative way.


Bruna Goncalves

Brigham Young University
avatar for Ryan Kellems

Ryan Kellems

Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University
Dr. Ryan Kellems is a Assistant Professor in the Counseling Psychology and Special Education department at Brigham Young University. Prior to coming to BYU Dr. Kellems was on the faculty at the University of Oregon where he worked with the National Post-School Outcomes Center. His... Read More →

Thursday November 29, 2018 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Eugene - Lower Level 1401 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201

Attendees (20)