Facilitating Parents' Collection of in-Home Behavior Specimens

Friday, May 18, 2012
Sheraton Hall (Sheraton Centre Toronto)
11:00 AM
N. Nazneen1, G. D. Abowd1, R. Oberleitner2, S. Pharkute2 and R. Arriaga1, (1)Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, (2)Behavior Imaging Solutions, Boise, ID

Direct observation, either in the clinic or in the home, is considered the gold standard for problem behavior assessment. However, it can be costly, intrusive, and may cause behavior reactivity. In addition, it is common for families to be on a long waiting list in order to schedule an appointment in the clinic. The problem is that the behavior may not be observed. In some cases the clinic sends a behavior analyst to observe the behavior at home. This option can also have negative implications, for example the analyst’s presence may impact the child’s behavior.

Our research has shown that technology can alleviate some of the challenges by allowing parents to capture child problem behaviors for retrospective video analysis by behavior analysts. In our earlier work we showed that parents are able to flag at least one sample of their child’s problem behavior.

We are designing, SmartCapture, a capture and access system that works on a commodity mobile phone. SmartCapture is a store and forward telemedicine tool integrated with a teleconsultation platform for data sharing with caregivers and behavior analysts in the clinic. The goal is to ship SmartCapture to parents and use it to collect relevant behavior specimens of their child’s problem behavior.


 To explore and validate the concept of in-home collection of problem behaviors using a commodity phone-based system.


The study has 4 phases. Phase 1 and 2 were concerned with understanding the needs of the users in regards to deploying mobile phone based technology while phase 3 and 4 were user studies with SmartCapture. Phase 1 consists of semi structured interviews of teachers, parents and caregivers of children with developmental disabilities. During phase 2 we conducted 4 homogeneous focus groups with 5 parents, 5 special education teachers, 3 behavior analysts and a heterogeneous one with 3 parents, 3 special education teachers and 3 behavior analysts. In Phase 3 a think aloud protocol was used to explore user interaction. Participants in this phase were 4 parents, 3 grandparents and 3 special education teachers. Finally in Phase 4 we asked four families to use SmartCapture in their home and share their experiences.


Our studies resulted in seven design recommendations for future iterations of SmartCapture, these are: 1) Design for simplicity and autonomy, 2) Maintain privacy, 3) Design for multiple family users, 4) Allow text and voice-based annotations, 5) Integrate with social networking sites, 6) Allow quick search on captured data 7) Include reminder.


The contribution of this work is to explore and validate the concept behind a system that facilitates in-home capture of problem behaviors. The findings of our user study in which we elicited the information needs of various stakeholders can enable designers to understand the nuances involved in supporting those needs. Based on these finding we derived 7 design recommendations. Future research will involve exploring the utility of the data collected through SmartCapture by investigating its impact on waiting list time and assessment of problem behaviors.

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