On the day

We have officially merged this workshop with the IDC 2017 workshop on Equity & Inclusivity and will organise a joint event.

Workshop Contributions:


In recent years, there has been considerable attention to exploring the possibilities of technology in the context of autism, particularly for children. Autistic children seem to have a natural affinity to technology as it provides a safe, predictable and highly structured medium which tolerates a level of repetition that few human peers can match. Consequently, technologies have been designed to support autistic children in their daily lives and as interventions that target social skill development or communication. While this field is showing great promise, there are also a lot of open questions, for example in terms of self-determination, effectiveness or transfer. Thus, we argue that it is time to take a step back and critically reflect on our work and with this workshop we do so by posing three provocative questions: 

  1. Are we trying to do the right thing?
  2. Is it working?
  3. Does it matter?

OTB objectsThe first question calls for a reflection on our intentions, motivations, goals and the inherent assumptions about appropriate roles of technology in the lives of autistic children. The second question asks about our efforts to assess the impact of the technology we create. Is it working and for whom and why - and can we "prove" it? Finally, the third question addresses the impact of what we do on a broader scale. Is our research making a difference? Can we scale, sustain or transfer our insights?  

For more background see our full workshop proposal.

This workshop marks the end of our project OutsideTheBox - Rethinking Assistive Technologies with Children with Autism - in which we have sought to shift the focus for designing technology away from the perceived deficits in autism towards a more holistic approach that responds to ideas, desires and needs of children that go well beyond their autism related limitations. 

Call for Participation

This workshop aims to bring together researchers who explore interactive technologies in the context of autistic children. Our aim is to foster the relationships between researchers in this field and critically reflect on the current status of our efforts. We do this by posing three provocative questions: 

  1.  Are we trying to do the right thing? 
  2.  Is it working? 
  3. Does it matter? 

We invite position papers (two to four pages, SIGCH Extended Abstract Format) which explore existing work through these questions. Submissions should include a brief overview of the research (past or planned), as well one paragraph reflection for each of the three questions. For more background, please see the full workshop proposal document on our webpage (below).

Position papers should be submitted by 22 May 2017 (extended! 12pm PDT) via email to . The selection process will ensure that high quality contributions from a range of different perspectives are invited to participate. At least one author of an accepted submission is required to attend the workshop, and participants must register for both the workshop and at least one day of the main conference. 


Submission Deadline 22 May (extended!)
Notification 25 May
Early Bird Registration Deadline 16 May
Workshop 27 June at IDC17, Standford University

Schedule & Activities

9:00   -   Welcome & Introductions
9:10   -   Participant Input - Show & Tell
10:00   -   Focus Session: Are we doing the right thing?
11:00   -   Coffee Break
11:15   -   Focus Session: Is it working?
12:15   -   Quick Synopsis & Documentation in the plenum
12:30   -   Lunch Break
13:30   -   Focus Session: Does it matter?
14:30   -   Coffee Break
15:00   -   Synopsis and Discussion
16:00   -   Fresh Air Break 
16:15   -   Plans for Dissemination 
17:00   -   Workshop end


This workshop is organised by Chris Frauenberger, Katharina Spiel and Julia Makhaeva. More information, see here.


For any questions, please email