Extending Attention Span for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder through a Webcam/Mouse Directed Attentive User Interface

Author: Othman Asiry

Asiry, Othman, 2019 Extending Attention Span for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder through a Webcam/Mouse Directed Attentive User Interface, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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School children are affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, a neurobiological condition. The major symptom here is short attention span, which can negatively influence the academic performance of a child, specifically in those tasks which require more concentration.

In this work, we outline our research on extending the attention span of children with ADHD by investigating the effect of user interface colour schemes on the attention state of these children. This will help develop a computer application that adapts its user interface by incorporating multiple stimuli to capture the attention of the child. The proposed adaptive user interface is directed by an eye tracking device (webcam), which constantly monitors the user’s attention state. A computer mouse is used as a second modality for tracking attention. A number of metrics were used in this study: number of fixations in the form of read words and the total time spent in reading the text. The results show that children with ADHD performed better in the presence of a colour scheme in general, specifically with a highlighting colour scheme, in comparison with no colour scheme. The contrast scheme was the second most effective for attention. The sharpening/blurring scheme helped the children keep engaged, but it was less effective than the highlighting and contrast schemes. Limitations of the study include small sample size, lack of female participants, limited age groups of the participants, and the venue of the study being only in a school setting. Future work could address these limitations by recruiting more participants, including female participants, across different age groups and in different settings. This work is based on the optimal stimulation theory which states that children with attention and hyperactivity disorders seek the optimum stimulation and attend to the task presenting extra stimulation.

Keywords: ADHD, Attentive User Interface, Eye Tracking, Assistive Technology, Attention Span

Subject: Computer Science thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2019
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Haifeng Shen