Middle School Makers

We are a research team from the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach and Engineering Department at Tufts University’s who are interested in examining how involvement in client-centered projects completed in Makerspaces helps adolescents with autism spectrum disorder create a context where social and job-related skills are required. Several previous studies conducted by most of the researchers involved with this project have shown hands-on engineering projects are a way to affect change in adolescents with autism.

PURPOSE AND DURATION: The project will occur during summer school hours for two hours twice a week and be presented in a workshop format during which the participants be presented with a series of problems for which they must build a solution. In order to do this they must understand the client and work together in a team.

The workshops will at Woburn Memorial High School.

Class Setting:
The workshop will take place in a classroom at the school. We will do what we can to provide a welcoming and supportive environment. School staff will be with students.

COSTS AND BENEFITS: There is no cost to participating in the study. Furthermore, educational tech tools that enhance social and occupational functioning could help students with autism fulfill their academic potential and increase social skills. This could lead youth to future employment and secondary educational opportunities, so that they have a positive impact on society’s workforce (by boosting worker’s competency).

Students can participate in the workshop even if they do not consent to being part of the research.

RISK AND DISCOMFORTS: Participation in the study has minimal risk to participants because the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research is not greater than what is ordinarily encountered in daily life during performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests. Moreover, there is minor emotional risk related to social engagement with peers, instructors, or family. However, the goal of the workshop is to improve skills and in the long term, increase the availability of future employment opportunities for participants so the emotional risk should actually diminish and hopefully be eliminated.

Students’ individual information will remain anonymous. At no point will pictures or names of students be presented as part of the research dissemination.

The previous experience of the research team should help to minimize potential risk: The PI and co-PI of the project have been involved with several projects related with children with ASD for the last 5 years. One PI is a practicing psychologist and the other is a former special education teacher who worked with students with special needs.

WITHDRAWAL OF PARTICIPATION: You can withdraw your child from the study at any time with no negative consequences. You have the right to request that any or all of your child’s information collected to date be withdrawn.

Thank you,

Dr. Daniel Hannon and Elissa Milto

For further information, please contact:
Elissa Milto
Director of Outreach, Center for Engineering Education and Outreach
Tufts University
200 Boston Ave
Medford, MA 02155