Design your life: A toolkit that helps young autistic adults create their own supportive technologies

Johannes Cornelis van Huizen, Thijs Stephanus Waardenburg, Jelle van Dijk, Wouter Staal, Mascha C. van der Voort

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


In recent years, an increasing number of assistive technologies have been proposed to support young autistic adults (YAA) in daily life. However, the effectiveness and use of these technologies are limited. First, many assistive technologies are designed for and by non-autistic individuals, so autistic
users may have difficulties using these technologies in terms of functionality and overall usability. For example, a simple assistive technology such as an alarm clock may cause sensory overload. Second, assistive technologies created specifically for an autistic person are often part of formal therapy and training. Often these technologies align with or are intentionally based on contested
treatments for autism, including Applied Behaviour Analysis.

In the Design Your Life research project, we are working with young autistic adults to develop a codesign toolkit that helps them create their own supportive technologies. Central to Design Your Life is a personalized and experiential design process, with attention to the user's unique preferences. To develop this toolkit, ten design case studies were conducted over a nineteen-month period. Each case study was conducted with a young autistic adult and a caregiver, with whom different toolkits were tested. Upon completion of all case studies, the resulting data was analysed and synthesized using a grounded theory approach.
This led to the development of a single, integrative toolkit. In subsequent research phases, the integrative toolkit will be validated through another fifteen case studies. We want to determine whether the toolkit supports practical self-efficacy, but we will also investigate whether the toolkit evokes a sense of empowerment in its users.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventSupporting Health by Technology 2022 - Martini Plaza, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 12 May 202213 May 2022


ConferenceSupporting Health by Technology 2022
Abbreviated titleHealth by Tech
Internet address

Cite this