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Collaborating to Learn & Learning to Collaborate (CollaboLearn): 
Co-creating meaningful and motivating social learning curricula with children on the autism spectrum



Our rapidly changing and highly interconnected world makes it increasingly difficult for people with autism to participate and learn - from early childhood education and throughout adult life. This leaves them in a situation where they are unable to put their personal resources to use, often resulting in feelings of hopelessness and low quality of life for the individual and in loss of significant value for society. The CollaboLearn project is about facilitating social learning through play in order to prevent these poor outcomes. In this project, we develop play activities for autistic children that are inherently socially interactive so that these children also are able to participate in the social learning opportunities that social play affords. Together with autistic children and their adults (teachers & parents), we co-create play activities that allow the children to tinker with the dynamics of collaboration. Through in-play reflection routines, the children are provided the opportunity to make explicit their key social learning points by metaphorizing them into lego constructions. These constructions are saved and used to scaffold the transfer of children's emerging social strategies from one situation to the next, across school and home. In developing social play activities and in-play reflection routines for autistic children, the project deepens our understanding of the collaborative aspects of play - and the social learning opportunities that play affords.

The CollaboLearn project is research-in-practice triparted between the Interacting Minds Centre at the School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University (research environment), Langagerskolen (public sector specilized school), and AutismePotentiale (private sector consultancy). 

Our joint mission is to develop and validate content for social learning curricula that are interactive and implementable and disseminate this via a user-driven digital platform with multiple entry points.

Andreas Roepstorff,
Professor and Director,
Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University    

Jens Frostholm,
School director,
Langagerskolen, Viby J  

Line Gebauer, PhD,
Associate professor, Aarhus University &
Clinical psychologist, Langagerskolen, Viby J   

Ella Paldam, PhD, postdoc,
Interacting Minds Centre, AU

Rikke Steensgaard,
Research assistant, Interacting Minds Centre, AU 

Stine Strøm Lundsgaard
master in educational psychology,
Research assistant, Interacting Minds Centre, AU

The project is funded by