Visual Hybrid Development Learning System (VHDLS) Framework for Children with Autism

Visual Hybrid Development Learning System (VHDLS) Framework for Children with Autism

Table of Contents


The effect of education on children with autism serves as a relative cure for their deficits. As a result of this, they require special techniques to gain their attention and interest in learning as compared to typical children ( children with autism). Several studies have shown that these children are visual learners. In this study, we proposed a Visual Hybrid. Development Learning System (VHDLS) framework that is based on an instructional design model, multimedia cognitive learning theory, and learning style in order to guide software developers in developing learning systems for children with autism. The results of this study showed that the attention of children with autism increased more with the proposed VHDLS framework.

Keywords: Autism, Framework, Visual cognitive, Visual hybrid, Attention Learning style


The triad of impairments—communication, social, and stereotype patterns of behavior in children with autism— have made it difficult for them to interact in society (American Psychiatric Association [APA] 2000). These deficits make it difficult for autistic children to comprehend verbal expressions or gestures from people and to express their own feelings or thoughts to people. In order to assist them with these deficits, medical and educational interventions have been provided for these children at different levels. However, in an intervention method research conducted by Ruble and McGrew (2007), results showed that parents agreed that educational and behavioral interventions are more effective. In addition, the impact of education cannot be overemphasized as it has been identified as a relative cure for the impairments in children with autism (Mitchell et al. 2007).

Subsequently, technology and computer-based learning systems have become an effective method for teaching children with learning disabilities who have little or no interest in learning (Putnam and Chong 2008). The advantage of technology and computer-based methods provides children with an interactive learning environment. Despite the interactive environment, attention, and participation of the learners serve as a vital element of learning (Lavie 2010).

Multimedia components such as video, animations, and images have been identified by different studies as effective tools for gaining the attention of children with learning disabilities, especially children with autism (Grandin 2006). On the other hand, the magnitude of stimulating effects in each multimedia component varies because the interest of stimulating effects in a learning system varies from one child to another. According to Wetherby and Prizant (2000), the three categories of behavioral patterns in children with autism spectrum disorder are hypoactive, hyperactive, and mixed patterns. The category of hypoactive patterns of behavior requires high sensory input to keep them calmer and attentive. Hyperactive pattern requires low sensory input to keep them calmer and attentive and mixed pattern could require high or low at a different point in time. Hence, children with autism who display a hypoactive pattern of behavior require a stimulating learning environment in order to be calm and attentive.

As a result of the differences of the stimulating effects in these children, teachers find it difficult to manage multimedia learning system with one type of stimulating effects among different children with autism because of the variation in their visual stimulation preference. The objective of this study is to propose a Visual Hybrid Development Learning System (VHDLS) framework to assist software developers in developing software learning system for children with autism that will invariably assist teachers in managing their attention during learning.

In the proposed learning system, different thematic areas of visuals were identified and presented to the learners in order to gain their interest in a learning task. A Visual Hybrid for Learning Quran (VHLQ) learning system prototype was developed to teach verses of the Quran to children with autism in order to maintain their attention on the recitation as well as the text. The contribution of this study is to provide a guide for software developers in developing an adaptive learning tool and provides teachers with a flexible learning tool to manage different learners with autism.

Hence, this paper discusses the experimental study of the VHLQ learning system, which is based on the VHDLS framework, in gaining and maintaining the attention of children with autism through representational and decorative illustrations. Other sections of this paper explain the design of the VHDLS framework, provide the methodology of the study, present the findings, and provide the summary and conclusion of the study.

Summary and Conclusion

The analysis of the results showed that children with autism not only pay more attention to learning when presented with visuals hybrid (representational and decorative). They displayed significant on-task behaviors as compared to off-task behaviors, and also exhibited satisfactory behaviors by showing significant affective behaviors to unexciting behaviors according to experimental evaluation results and experts’ review results. In addition, hypothesis H1 was supported by the results. Hence, the proposed VHDLS framework is more effective compared to the existing framework in increasing the attention span of children with autism in learning because it provided them with affective pictures (representational) and stimulating effect (decorative) which balances their atypical sensory reaction and thus increases their attention.

About KSRA

The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.

KSRA research association, as a non-profit research firm, is committed to providing research services in the field of knowledge. The main beneficiaries of this association are public or private knowledge-based companies, students, researchers, researchers, professors, universities, and industrial and semi-industrial centers around the world.

Our main services Based on Education for all Spectrum people in the world. We want to make an integration between researches and educations. We believe education is the main right of Human beings. So our services should be concentrated on inclusive education.

The KSRA team partners with local under-served communities around the world to improve the access to and quality of knowledge based on education, amplify and augment learning programs where they exist, and create new opportunities for e-learning where traditional education systems are lacking or non-existent.

FULL Paper PDF file:

Visual Hybrid Development Learning System (VHDLS) Framework for Children with Autism


Bilikis Banire

Nazean Jomhari

Rodina Ahmad 

Department of Software Engineering, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, University of Malaya, Lembah Pantai, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


This research was supported by a grant from the research and development center, University of Malaya. Special thanks to the staff of Akademi Fakeh and Abu Dhabi Autism Centre for their support in the study. We are grateful to the teachers, parents, and caregivers of the participants for their support. Department of Software Engineering, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, University of Malaya, Lembah Pantai 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

  • Published
  • Issue Date

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

ISSN 0162-3257 J Autism Dev Disord.2015;45(10):3069‐3084

DOI 10.1007/s10803-015-2469-7

PDF reference and original file: Click here




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Nasim Gazerani was born in 1983 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from UM University of Malaysia.

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Professor Siavosh Kaviani was born in 1961 in Tehran. He had a professorship. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the QL University of Software Development Methodology and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Chelsea.

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Maryam kakaei was born in 1984 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from Azad University of Arak.