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Using the Kinect as an Engagement and Emerging Communication Tool for Low Functioning Pupils with Autism and SLD

Practice Report
  • Anthony Rhys (Trinity Fields School and Resource Centre)

How using the Kinect motion sensor with adapted PC programmes can help in engaging pupils with low functioning autism and other severe learning difficulties, giving them a reason to communicate.


This paper presents a postgraduate SLD/PMLD action research case study with a 14 year old boy with severe autism (Graded A from Swansea Metropolitan University). Pupil was graded using the Leuven scale for well being and engagement before and after the project using the Somantics program and significant behavioural and communication gains were also noted. The study was also part of a whole school approach to using Gesture Based Technology which gained Sector Leading Practice from Estyn in November 2012.


The use of non-fail, exploratory graphical gesture-based software can greatly facilitate and improve the engagement, interaction, movement and communication of pupils with low functioning autism and other severe learning difficulties. The pupils made significant engagement and well-being gains, as well as spontaneous commenting.


The use of gesture-based technology with pupils with autism and SLD is only just emerging as a tool to increase interaction and self-awareness. The school now leads a Professional Learning Community with 11 other special schools in Wales, England and Ireland looking at using gesture-based technology with pupils with SLD.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages