Pencilplay uses children’s drawings as a potential diagnostic tool for tracking development stages. We see a viable tool that may provide supplementary data for specialists by semi automating the process of drawing analysis using computer vision techniques.
Table of Contents
- What is special about Children’s Drawings?
- Are a child’s drawings a useful development indicator?
- Using a Mobile App to collect Data
- Next Steps for Pencilplay
What is special about Children’s Drawings?
Children’s drawings are unique. When children draw, they explore themes that are often snapshots of the mental models of their world. Drawings, in this case, are representations – not just of their understanding of their environment, but also of their shifting mental states.
During the early days of the project, we were referred to Viktor Lowenfeld’s work by a child psychologist. Lowenfeld’s theory of artistic stages resonated with our own work with both Autistic and NT children. There were indeed distinct stages, and each of these stages was somewhat predictable. The child progressed from scribbles to symbols to shared symbols, all the way to attempted realism.
Are a child’s drawings a useful development indicator?
A theme emerged from our early discussions with pre-schools and child specialists. We observed that development stages broadly match a child’s artistic stages. So, what does it mean when a 10 year old child draws like a 4 year old? Or vice versa.
We had observed that neuro-diverse children drew pictures that structurally resembled those of much younger neuro-typical children, although maturity still manifested itself through factors such as control of the medium, degree of ornamentation etc. From the point of view of artistic stage however, the disparity between development and stage was obvious.
Using a Mobile App to collect Data
We built a simple Mobile App (no longer on the store) to make it easier for parents to collect children’s artwork. The added benefit for parents would be that they no longer required to hold on to the physical drawings themselves.
Among other basic features, the app also showed a rudimentary dashboard that helped parents make decisions, such as diversifying drawing and visual art media or encouraging the child to draw through contextual enquiry.
Next Steps for Pencilplay
The next steps for this project will be to investigate the potential for using visual-computing for analysis of children’s drawings for developmental insights. Preliminary experiments indicate that there is potential for developing a simple drawing test that can help researchers identify potential developmental markers through children’s art.
Browse other projects from the Sandbox
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- PencilplayPencilplay explores how childrens drawings may be used as a diagnostic tool in early childhood development
- PlayjamIs there a need for a learning bridge between home and preschool? Playjam imagines a rolling-school, that is built around play and parental-bonding.
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