Social Mirror: Motivation to practice life skills via an online social network
SocialMirror, a device connected to a specialized online social network that allows the young adult with autism to seek advice from a trusted and responsive network of family, friends and professionals. SocialMirror provides an example of how we might embed a life skills support mechanism into everyday objects in the home. SocialMirror consists of two parts. First, an interactive display integrated into a mirror provides the opportunity to ask and receive advice with an attached day’s calendar. Second, the system is connected to an online social network that sends questions to a trusted set of family, friends and professionals. At the beginning of each day or the night before, an individual with autism can see his calendar that indicates his day’s events. He can take a picture of himself and send a question to his social network if he feels the need to ask for advice. For example, he might want to know if he is dressed appropriately for an upcoming event on his calendar. SocialMirror helps to contextualize the request to the rest of the network by attaching the picture, the question, and the day’s calendar of events for all in the trusted network to see. When answers arrive from the support network, they are immediately reflected back to the individual. SocialMirror is also available as a webpage or a smartphone application, facilitating access to the support network at any time and from anywhere.