Autism is characterized by social skills impairments. Children with autism exhibit problems when initiating and terminating interactions, learning the interests of others, and joining social groups. Direct instructions for skill acquisition are an effective way to teach them social skills, helping to cope with these social challenges.
The Social Compass curriculum is a behavioral and educational curriculum identified as the best social curriculum for social skills training. It uses social stories and paper-based visual supports for teaching children with autism social skills. The minimal social skills required for a “basic and complete social interaction” are addressed by six core lessons from the Social Compass curriculum: eye contact, space and proximity, start interaction, asking questions, sharing interests, and finishing interaction.
MOSOCO is a mobile assistive application that uses augmented reality and the visual supports of the Social Compass to help children with autism practice social skills in real-life situations. MOSOCO guides children throughout an interaction, help them detect potential interaction partners, and give them social cues . By receiving this information through their own mobile devices, each child gets direct assistance and reinforcement for practicing their social skills. The results of a seven-week deployment study of MOSOCO in a public school in Southern California with both students with autism and neurotypical students demonstrate that MOSOCO facilitates practicing and learning social skills, increases both quantity and quality of social interactions, reduces social and behavioral missteps, and enables the integration of children with autism in social groups of neurotypical children. The findings from this study reveal emergent practices of the uses of mobile assistive technologies in real-life situations.

Participants of our study using MOSOCO

private webpage:

Project participants

Lizbeth Escobedo, Ph.D.,Post-doctoral scholar (see more about lizbeth …)
e: lescobedo[at]u …

Monica Tentori, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (see more about monica …)
e: mten …

In collaboration with Gillian R. Hayes (UC Irvine), David H. Nguyen (Nokia Research) and LouAnne Boyd (NOC Selpa)

Related publications to the project

  • Escobedo, L., Nguyen, D., Boyd, L., Hirano, S., Rangel, A., García, D., Tentori, M., Hayes, G. R. (2012) MOSOCO: A Mobile Assistive Tool to Support Children with Autism Practicing Social Skills in Real-Life Situations, CHI’12, Austin, Texas, May 5-10, 2012

  • Tentori, M. y Hayes, G. R. (2010) “Designing for Interaction Immediacy to Enhance Social Skills of Children with Autism”, Ubicomp ’10 Proceedings of the 12th ACM international conference on Ubiquitous computing, 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 26-29, 2010, 51-60pp