Results

The Lands of Fog system has been tried in two experimental settings. The first trials were done in the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, in a laboratory controlled setting. These trials had the objective to test behavioral changes in users during different play sessions through time. The second trials were done in The Elmgreen School, London, an inclusive elementary school. The experiments in the inclusive school had the goal to test the suitability of the system in such a setting, testing its perception by professionals and students.

The system was received positively by the participants of both trials settings, as the children showed a general enthusiasm for playing and exploring the environment. The children showed an increase in the number of game elements with which they interacted as time passed. We may understand this as a willingness to engage in ongoing game play and partake in exploration of new game elements during the session. It may be noted that not only did the children show an increase in solitary playing actions, like catching fireflies, but they also showed an increase in collaborative actions, such as manipulating environmental elements. This means that not only were the children becoming more active, but they were also engaging in a larger breadth of actions.

Parents reported that their children showed an increasing level of flexibility throughout the course of the sessions as children were willing to hold off on their own playing agenda and be open to collaborating with their peer. As children with ASD may struggle with limited interests and repeating behavior, this increase in flexibility shows that the children were able to focus on the game and break away from a limited diversification of activities commonly associated with their condition.

In addition, the special needs personnel at the integrative school in London noted that the children with ASD showed more willingness to engage in play with their partner than in normal school settings (such as science class, drama class and even playground time). This view was supported by questionnaires data. The staff of the school agreed with the opinion that the game served as a source of unifying children of various social groups through a unique shared experience.