Providing Connection for Those on Autism Spectrum

04/21/2022

In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, Cox presents Project Convey, which aims to increase meaningful connection for individuals on the autism spectrum while video chatting. Project Convey features the stories of four people that experience a new level of connection with their friends and family.

For individuals on the autism spectrum – one in 44 of us – having a meaningful connection on video chats can be difficult, if not impossible. Autism makes it challenging to read and understand facial expressions and other people’s emotions, which is only amplified when there is a screen between them and the person with which they are speaking.

The video prototype featured in the Project Convey stories uses speech and facial recognition to analyze facial expressions, words and tone of voice to interpret the meaning and translate that into a single emoji so that individuals on the autism spectrum can easily understand and respond accordingly. In essence, they are a visual closed caption – captions that convey.

“Everyone deserves genuine human connection, and the increased use of video chat has made it even more of a challenge for individuals on the autism spectrum to obtain this,” said Dr. Michelle Dean, autism expert and consultant for Project Convey. “As shown in research, emojis are preferred by individuals with autism, so the video prototype gives these individuals a tool they already understand to help them connect.” 

The video prototype and research featured in Project Convey are available in the hope that one day every video chat platform will implement these tools. At Cox, the New Growth and Development organization is exploring ways to integrate this technology into our products to continue delivering on our commitment to serve customers of diverse abilities.

“We wanted to show that it’s possible to make video chat inclusive for people on the autism spectrum by creating technology that enables them to more easily process the conversation,” said Mark Lawson, EVP and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at Cox. “This allows them to have stronger connections with the people they interact with, and that’s what we set out to do with Project Convey.”

Click here to learn more about Project Convey and watch how the families that have strengthened their connections.

Cox is committed to building accessible products and services to help people with sight, hearing or mobility needs. Accessible features are built into Cox Contour TV, voice, and Homelife with large print and braille statements available to help all customers meaningfully connect. Learn more about Cox’s focus on accessibility here: https://www.cox.com/residential/learn/accessibility.html

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