Context: The Dr. Leo Kannerhuis has developed a vision on disease management for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the life coaching model. In this light we wanted to develop a digital coach which would enhance empowerment, lead to a possible improvement of the quality of life and a reduction of care consumption.
Purpose: The main research question was:
What is the effect of using digital coaching, the iPod coach, on the travelling routine of an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Sub questions were:
• Does it lead to an improvement of their travelling behaviour?
• Does it improve the quality of life as experienced by the adolescent and/or the parents?
• Is it cost-effective?
• Are the adolescents satisfied with the digital coach?
Case description and data sources: The project started with the development of the software and content. The content contains support for problem solving and planning support. It was developed in cooperation with adolescents and the professionals working with them. The research trial was a combination of n=1 study and a small group analysis. Determining the baseline in skills and a short user training were part of the trial. Data were collected from an experimental group and a small control group.
Preliminary conclusions: The trial ends in June but the first data analysis shows an increase in self-esteem and a good match between application and target group. Publicity has generated a huge interest in the iPod coach for many daily operations both for people with ASD, but also for people with other disorders.
Discussion: Further development for other life aspects such as school and work as well as added functionalities are necessary and requested by the users. Is it possible to have the iPod coach function as a life coach on all aspects of life?