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Investigation into Stress Triggers in Autistic Adults for the Development of Technological Self-Interventions

McGowan, John Joseph; Mcgregor, Iain Peter



Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face daily challenges dealing with stress, for example, at work, or in public spaces, which can be overwhelming in terms of coping with sensory overload. Technological interventions have been created in order to attempt to counter symptoms of stress, through improving cognition and functioning of target users. Mobile devices, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications have demonstrated the ability to support and improve clinical practices through sensory based technologies. In this paper, we present the initial phase of research concerning an online survey conducted with over 200 autistic participants and caregivers. We report on the identification of currently used technological preferences, triggers associated with stress, issues regarding sensitivity and perception, the needs of caregivers, as well as the perceived potential for new technologies. The study has identified that sensitivity to sound and light remain key stress triggers for those on the autism spectrum. Headphones and mobile devices were considered to be suitable methods of accessing multi-sensory stimuli to help manage stress. Augmented Reality and VR were identified by autistic participants as technologies that might aid in the reduction of unpredictable stress-related events. The insights gained from the research will inform future research regarding the design of technological self-interventions for stress management in autistic adults.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name The 25th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility
Start Date Oct 23, 2023
End Date Oct 25, 2023
Online Publication Date Oct 22, 2023
Publication Date Oct 22, 2023
Deposit Date Oct 21, 2023
Publicly Available Date Oct 23, 2023
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Book Title Proceedings of the 25th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '23)
Chapter Number 17
ISBN 9798400702204
Keywords Autism, Stress Triggers, Stress Management
Public URL


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