This interdisciplinary Practice-as-Research PhD is situated in The Arts as well as the Social Sciences, due to the placement of Movement, informed by Somatic Practices and Improvisation, being presented alongside literature informing the understanding of Autism. The PhD project aims to re-contextualise studies suggesting an increased affiliation to technology, seen by the autistic child, by critically reflecting on the relationship formed with technologies that are originally designed for the conventional, solo, user. This is considered problematic within the research project, as the focus of the majority of research into the use of technology enhanced learning for those with autism tends to offer enhancements to the existing skills of high-functioning individuals, rather than focus on those where the outcomes are more significant. By focusing on one-to-one session for children with autism, giving specific focus to those of primary school age with underdeveloped verbal communication, the facilitation is individualised by employing techniques from Somatic Movement Practice and Improvisation, to offer embodied interactions with the other as a core method. In addition to this, by employing the anthropological method of Participant Observer enhances my role as researcher and facilitator is enhanced. Abigail aims to discuss utilising technologies within the school environments, by combining these movement techniques with the placement of accessible audio-visual technologies, to introduce digital mediation, through live feed footage projected onto the walls of the dance studio. The aim for this interdisciplinary project is to allow an exploration of social experience to be encouraged alongside interactions with technology. More comprehensively, the project is concerned with considering the possibilities of the placement of movement within an intervention for children with autism, and the development of an approach to technology that primarily amplifies and extends the possibilities for the autistic child, in addition to their everyday school experiences.
Supervision Team: Prof. Michael Punt (Director of Studies), Dr. Hannah Drayson, Dr. Becky McKenzie and Mrs. Ruth Way