Student work featured as NSF-funded autism research continues on campus

autismA group of local students with autism spectrum disorders will showcase projects they developed this school year as part of a National Science Foundation research study headed by two Youngstown State University faculty members.

The showcase event, featuring students at Potential Development School for Students with Autism in Youngstown and the Rich Center for Autism at YSU, is 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 27, in the Rossi Room of Kilcawley Center on the YSU campus.

Nearly two dozen students from the two schools participated in a program throughout the 2021-22 school year designed, in part, to develop and test an accessible computing curriculum for students with autism spectrum disorders. The ultimate purpose is to provide a publicly accessible computing curriculum repository to teach computational thinking to students with ASD said Abdu Arslanyilmaz, YSU professor of Computer Science, Information and Engineering Technology. 

The project is part of a research and development grant that NSF awarded Arslanyilmaz and Margaret Briley, assistant professor of Teacher Education. 

Under the grant, numerous instructional materials, including instructional videos, step-by-step visual handouts, evaluation rubrics and reflection prompts, were developed and computing curriculum implemented, Arslanyilmaz said. 

Participating students created about 10 small-scale computing projects. At the showcase event, students will share one of the projects with parents and the public and reflect on their overall design processes and computational creation experiences.
Arslanyilmaz said data collection and analysis continues as part of the research project.