This thesis explores how to provide better access to alternative treatment options through an immersive biofeedback exercise and mobile application for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This thesis also seeks to connect children with ASD to medical professionals and treatment facilities.
This is done through a motion graphics piece depicting an abdominal breathing exercise and correlating mobile application. Users participate in biofeedback exercises in which their real-time biofeedback is monitored, transmitted to the mobile application, and reflected to the user. The mobile application analyzes and identifies physiological signals and detects what feedback is most useful to help the individual meet goals of increased vagal tones. Increased vagal tones correlates with high frequency heart rate variability. The game promotes self-awareness and self-regulation through abdominal breathing, heart rate variability, and mindfulness.
If done consistently, biofeedback exercises may help re-train the body’s response to stressful situations, leading to function and behavioral improvements in everyday life. Additionally, this treatment application aims to be a preventative health option for children with ASD as a means to hopefully diminish the lifetime costs of care.
This topic is important to the field of design and the broader community because it utilizes the power of design, motion, and interactive technology to potentially bring about improvements to the lives of children with ASD. Furthermore, this thesis unifies design with science as a means to bring better health care access and support services to people with ASD.
Visual Communication Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Laurence I. Sugarman
Richardson, Elizabeth, "SynApps: Children’s ASD Management Through A Mobile Application and An Interactive Biofeedback Exercise" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus