Expert meeting on interactive playgrounds: What makes a playground inclusive?

December 3th, 2021

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All children need play to develop well. However, playgrounds can be difficult to access for children with special needs. Some children are thus left on the outskirts of a playground. Dec 2nd, an (hybrid) expert meeting at the University of Twente was organized, to integrate insights from experts in psychology, interactive technology and ethical computing, and from organizations with an expertise in inclusive playground design (i.e., Johan Cruyff Foundation, Jantje Beton, and Yalp). At the kick off the experts were invited to play on an interactive playground built by Yalp in Enschede!

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Boya successfully defended her second PhD dissertation!

November 11th, 2021

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Not one, but now two PhD diplomas! On November 10th, Boya successfully defended her second PhD dissertation, entitled "Understanding, expressing and interacting: The development of emotional functioning in young children with autism." In her dissertation, Boya found that most of the emotional abilities that she examined improved with age in autistic children. Some abilities even grew at a faster rate than in non-autistic children, showing that autistic children have great potential. Read more about her dissertation in this interview here.

Congratulations on this achievement, Boya!


Claudia's presentation at the INTENSE plenary meeting

October 7th, 2021

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On October 6-7, Claudia Libbi presented at the INTENSE plenary meeting in Amsterdam. In her presentation, Claudia described how she wants to use VR in testing the ability of cochlear implants for sound selection in noisy environments, such as in classrooms and school hallways, to promote better social inclusion of children with hearing loss in schools. This annual plenary meeting of the INTENSE project was meant for each work package to present their progresses and discuss the outcomes and utilization with the stakeholders. Carolien, Claudia, and Yung-Ting are part of the Work Package 2 (Deafness). Click here for more information about the meeting!


Carolien went live for the Autism TV Broadcast

September 22nd, 2021

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Wednesday sept 22, Carolien was invited by Autisme TV to talk about bullying in school in a live broadcast. Also at the table was Jeffrey Wijkhuisen, who has autism and experienced a lot of bullying during his high school years. Both Jeffrey and Carolien stressed the harmful effects of being neglected, or as Jeffrey put it “as if you do not exist”, yet this kind of bullying is often not recognized by teachers and mentors. Carolien repeatedly emphasized that bullying is about a (wrong and harmful) group process that should change, but we should never focus on the pupil who is bullied, as this can happen to anyone. The interviewer, Anouk  Breeman, responded “I wish I had known this when I was in school”. 

You can access the broadcast through this link.

Recent & Upcoming Events

December 2nd 2021, 09.30 CET: Expert meeting on interactive playgrounds

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November 10th 2021, 15.00 CET: Boya's PhD defense

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October 6th and 7th 2021: Claudia, Yung-Ting and Carolien present at the INTENSE plenary meeting

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Carolien and Alma Schaafstal at SmartXP

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Walking around with program director Alma Schaafstal, at SmartXP, home of Creative / Interaction Technology, University of Twente!
It’s good to see students back on campus!

Carolien's interview by LDE Centre for Bold Cities



From September 27 to October 1, it was the Dutch national Annual Week Against Bullying. 
In the context of this week, Carolien was interviewed by the LDE Centre for BOLD Cities.

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Play in Portuguese preschool children with hearing loss

March 26th, 2021


March 25, Brenda presented at the International Congress of Early Childhood Outdoor Practices on play in Portuguese preschool children with hearing loss in mainstream or special schools. 

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Who are we?

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Our team is located at the department of Developmental Psychology of Leiden University and at the Human Media Interaction at the technical University of Twente, both in the Netherlands. We work in close collaboration with the ENT department of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), the mental health organisations INTER-PSY (Groningen) and Curium-LUMC, the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), and TU Delft. Our group is dedicated to examining the development of emotional intelligence of children and adolescents from a very young age; with a strong focus on its impact on children's social development. Besides typically developing children and adolescents, we are interested in the development of those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH), with autism, or with a Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Currently, we have an ongoing project on social inclusion at schools that utilises sensor technology with DHH and autistic children. Since 2017, our team has also been working in close collaboration with a centre for DHH children in China.

On this site we will post regular news items about new publications, events, and other important news. You can also read more about our ongoing projects, read about/download questionnaires we have developed, peruse the list of our publications per topic, or learn about opportunities for students to join our team.