Conference PaperPDF Available

Robot-assisted therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Our research is the exploration of the social effects of human-robot interaction (HRI) on children with ASD, a population that has deficiencies in many types of social behavior. Computers and robots have been shown to be a catalyst for increased social interaction in children with ASD, yet that effect requires further study to be effectively employed as a therapeutic intervention.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... The most significant advantages of this device are the physical appearance and some technological features. With reference to physical appearance, QTRobot has more closely related human features, with different levels of motion which allow for an easier identification of social actions and expressions, facilitating the transfer of skills learned in the human-robot context to a human-human interaction [4,[24][25][26]. QTrobot is built precisely to a child's physical dimensions; it moves its arms with multiple DOF. ...
... From a researcher's point of view, robot systems must have numerous capabilities, such as: sensing and interpreting the child's actions; full autonomy within the experimental scenario setting; collecting and processing data over time; evaluating the interaction in terms of the quantity and quality of behaviors; altering behavior based on parameters chosen by the researcher or experimenter; and flexibility in the programming [25]. Again, the NAO and QT robots are equipped with a platform for researchers; however, further developments are needed in order to make these platforms more flexible. ...
Article
Full-text available
Robot-assisted therapy (RAT) is a promising area of translational neuroscience for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It has been widely demonstrated that this kind of advanced technological tool provides a reliable and efficient intervention for promoting social skills and communication in children with ASD. This type of treatment consists of a human-assisted social robot acting as an intervention mediator to increase competence and skills in children with ASD. Several social robots have been validated in the literature; however, an explicit technical comparison among devices has never been performed. For this reason, in this article, we provide an overview of the main commercial humanoid robots employed for ASD children with an emphasis on indications for use, pitfalls to be avoided, and recent advances. We conclude that, in the near future, a new generation of devices with high levels of mobility, availability, safety, and acceptability should be designed for improving the complex triadic interaction among teachers, children, and robots.
... Im Gegensatz zu bisherigen therapeutischen Ansätzen soll diese Roboterplattform in Gestalt des humanoiden Roboters Pepper in der Lage sein, auf der Basis von Mimik, Sprache und Puls des Kindes dessen Emotionen zu erkennen und ein Echtzeitfeedback zu generieren [1]. So kann das Robotersystem das Kind dabei unterstützen, die Emotionen seines Gegenübers selbst richtig zu erkennen und darzustellen und so die sozio-emotionalen Kompetenzen des autistischen Kindes steigern [2,3,4,5,6]. Da ein derartiges System Konfliktpotenziale und Akzeptanzrisiken birgt, sind eine frühzeitige Nutzereinbindung und Evaluation der ethischen, sozialen und rechtlichen Implikationen (ELSI) sowie deren Berücksichtigung im weiteren Projektverlauf unerlässlich [7]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ZUSAMMENFASSUNG Der Einbezug ethischer, sozialer und rechtlicher Aspekte (ELSI) stellt inzwischen eine feste Größe für die Entwicklung von Mensch-Roboter-Interaktionssystemen dar, da sie einen zentralen Beitrag zur Akzeptanz solcher Systeme durch die Nutzer und damit eine erfolgreiche Implementierung leisten. Der vorliegende Beitrag zeigt am Beispiel des Forschungsprojekts »ERIK«, wie ethische, soziale und rechtliche Aspekte und Akzeptanzrisiken im Rahmen von Akzeptanz-Risiko-Workshops nutzerzentriert erhoben wurden und wie deren Bewertung im Rahmen eines Online-Fragebogens erfolgte. Durch die Vorgehensweise konnten ethische, soziale und rechtliche Aspekte mit hohem, mittlerem und niedrigem Akzeptanzrisiko seitens der potentiellen Nutzer identifiziert werden, die nun in der weiteren Entwicklung des Forschungsprojekts berücksichtigt und in den Evaluationsprozess einbezogen werden können.
... El corolario es que el uso apropiado de las nuevas tecnologías puede ser un apoyo para la educación y para el tratamiento de TEA, siempre que se sea consciente de cuándo retirar el apoyo (Kandalaft et al., 2013;Kozima et al., 2007;Feil-Seifer & Mataric, 2008;Wass et al., 2012). La tecnología por sí sola no ayuda, por eso tiene que estar mediada por personas para lograr vincularidad. ...
Article
Full-text available
El uso de dispositivos digitales para tratar a personas con trastorno del espectro autista (TEA) tiene buena aceptación, pero hasta el momento no se han registrado investigaciones en Argentina que analicen empíricamente su aporte en cuanto a los comportamientos comunicativos. El objetivo de esta investigación consistió en evaluar la implicación de los dispositivos digitales por lo que respecta a dos parámetros conductuales: la postura y el foco atencional de niños con TEA. Para llevarlo a cabo se analizaron 211 sesiones (vídeos) de 11 niños (edad, Media = 6.45 años, DE = 1.30) durante la utilización de la aplicación AppTEA y dispositivos tradicionales en interacciones con profesionales, en el contexto de unas actividades terapéuticas. Como resultado se encontró que en las sesiones, los niveles y las tendencias de postura y el foco atencional fueron similares, independientemente de los dispositivos empleados. Por lo tanto, si bien las tecnologías y los softwares específicos pueden complementar y apoyar los objetivos terapéuticos, no pueden sustituir el cuidado humano y el apoyo social y terapéutico para los niños.
... Robots have also been used as socially assistive entities playing an important role for children with autism spectrum disorders [1] and the active aging of older adults [2]. Active aging is a current topic and has an enormous economic and social impact. ...
Article
Full-text available
A lot of people have neuromuscular problems that affect their lives leading them to lose an important degree of autonomy in their daily activities. When their disabilities do not involve speech disorders, robotic wheelchairs with voice assistant technologies may provide appropriate human–robot interaction for them. Given the wide improvement and diffusion of Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, etc., such voice assistant technologies can be fully integrated and exploited in robotic wheelchairs to improve the quality of life of affected people. As such, in this paper, we propose an abstraction layer capable of providing appropriate human–robot interaction. It allows use of voice assistant tools that may trigger different kinds of applications for the interaction between the robot and the user. Furthermore, we propose a use case as a possible instance of the considered abstraction layer. Within the use case, we chose existing tools for each component of the proposed abstraction layer. For example, Google Assistant was employed as a voice assistant tool; its functions and APIs were leveraged for some of the applications we deployed. On top of the use case thus defined, we created several applications that we detail and discuss. The benefit of the resulting Human–Computer Interaction is therefore two-fold: on the one hand, the user may interact with any of the developed applications; on the other hand, the user can also rely on voice assistant tools to receive answers in the open domain when the statement of the user does not enable any of the applications of the robot. An evaluation of the presented instance was carried out using the Software Architecture Analysis Method, whereas the user experience was evaluated through ad-hoc questionnaires. Our proposed abstraction layer is general and can be instantiated on any robotic platform including robotic wheelchairs.
... Robots have also been used as educational agents with a focus on developing social psychological skills. For example, the iCat robot has been used to teach children to play chess [21] and the Keepon robot for robot-assisted therapy with children on the autistic spectrum [22,23]. Research with the NAO, RoboVie and Tiro humanoid robots have provided insights into the psychological dynamics characterizing social human-robot interaction (HRI) in educational settings [24]. ...
Article
Full-text available
With predictions of robotics and efficient machine learning being the building blocks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, countries need to adopt a long-term strategy to deal with potential challenges of automation and education must be at the center of this long-term strategy. Education must provide students with a grounding in certain skills, such as computational thinking and an understanding of robotics, which are likely to be required in many future roles. Targeting an acknowledged gap in existing humanoid robot research in the school learning environment, we present a multidisciplinary framework that integrates the following four perspectives: technological, pedagogical, efficacy of humanoid robots and a consideration of the ethical implications of using humanoid robots. Further, this paper presents a proposed application, evaluation and a case study of how the framework can be used.
... Almost two decades of child-robot interaction studies 1 have shown the promising applications of robot-based interventions for the diagnosis and therapy of autistic children, as interaction with social robots seem able to improve their engagement abilities and attention 2 as well as their emotional intelligence 3 . Robots can solicit social behaviors that autistic children rarely engage in Ref. 4. They can enhance the interaction between the therapist and autistic children 5 and facilitate their diagnosis. 6 Social robots can also assist in learning scenarios related to autistic children. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies suggest that robot-based interventions are potentially effective in diagnosis and therapy of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), demonstrating that robots can improve the engagement abilities and attention in autistic children. While methodological approaches vary significantly in these studies and are not unified yet, researchers often develop similar solutions based on similar conceptual and practical premises. We systematically review the latest robot-intervention techniques in ASD research (18 research papers), comparing multiple dimensions of technological and experimental implementation. In particular, we focus on sensor-based assessment systems for automated and unbiased quantitative assessments of children’s engagement and attention fluctuations during interaction with robots. We examine related technologies, experimental and methodological setups, and the empirical investigations they support. We aim to assess the strengths and limitations of such approaches in a diagnostic context and to evaluate their potential in increasing our knowledge of autism and in supporting the development of social skills and attentional dispositions in ASD children. Using our acquired results from the overview, we propose a set of social cues and interaction techniques that can be thought to be most beneficial in robot-related autism intervention.
Chapter
Assistive robots are expected to become ubiquitous by transforming everyday life and are expected to be widely used in healthcare therapies. SARs (Socially Assistive Robots) are a class of robots that are at an intersection between the class of assistive robots and that of interactive social robots. SARs are being explored to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). A SAR called EVA has been used to assist non-pharmacological interventions based on verbal, non-verbal communication and social interaction. The EVA robot can currently speak, listen and express emotions through looking. Towards offering immersive therapies for autistic children, this work enhances EVA’s capabilities to recognize user emotions through facial expression recognition and also to create light sensory effects in order to make the therapy more attractive to users. A therapy session was developed through a serious game where the child should recognize the robot’s emotions. During the game, EVA recognizes the child’s facial expression to check his/her learning progress. We invited a neurotypical 6-year-old child to play the game, with the consent of her parents, and recorded videos of the game session. Those videos were evaluated by 48 expert physicians and psychologists in therapies for ASD using the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). They considered our work useful and agreed it would help them doing their job more effectively.KeywordsSocially Assistive Robots (SAR)Multimodal interactionSerious gameEmotion regulationAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Chapter
The chapter aims at helping educators and classroom teachers who are new to using educational robotics as a learning tool in their classrooms. It discusses the approaches using robotics as a learning tool - a tool perfectly suited for enabling constructionist learning in the classroom and how educational robotics can provide ‘all' students motivation to learn STEM and computing science concepts. Educational robotics as a learning tool requires teachers as well as students to shift from traditional pedagogical approaches to learner-centered active learning approaches. The chapter discusses how the shift can be made in successful ways and provides guidance to pre- and in-service teachers on how to implement educational robotics as a learning tool to reach and attract ‘all' students to promote their learning.
Chapter
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is considered a lifelong disability which causes deficits in both social and cognitive functions and affects to the quality of an individual life. The limited human resources, time, and considerable cost have affected the diagnosis and treatment methods of ASD over the world. The state of the art implies how modern technologies and robotics can offer promising tools to reinforce the researches and therapies of ASD. Robots have been shown to have a promise approach as therapeutic tools that can be implemented to diagnose ASD, improve social interaction in the scope of stimulating emotional engagement and physical activity engagement while creating an interactive environment with less anxiety. Nowadays, AI has become a significant and frequent factor in robotic solutions, introducing flexibility and learning capabilities for the applications. Impact of introducing AI for robotics solutions to autism syndrome has been discussed throughout this chapter.
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to assess whether children with autism could be taught a child-initiated query as a pivotal response to facilitate the use of grammatical morphemes. Data were collected within the context of a multiple baseline design across two children who lacked the use of temporal morphemes. Results of the study indicated that both children learned the self-initiated strategy and both acquired and generalized the targeted morpheme. Additionally, generalized use of the self-initiation into other question forms and concomitant increases in mean length of utterance, verb acquisition, and diversity of verb use occurred for both children. These generalized effects and the applications of this procedure across linguistic targets are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
This article presents a longitudinal study with four children with autism, who were exposed to a humanoid robot over a period of several months. The longitudinal approach allowed the children time to explore the space of robot–human, as well as human–human interaction. Based on the video material documenting the interactions, a quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted. The quantitative analysis showed an increase in duration of pre-defined behaviours towards the later trials. A qualitative analysis of the video data, observing the childrens activities in their interactional context, revealed further aspects of social interaction skills (imitation, turn-taking and role-switch) and communicative competence that the children showed. The results clearly demonstrate the need for, and benefits of, long-term studies in order to reveal the full potential of robots in the therapy and education of children with autism.
Article
Full-text available
The aurora project is investigating the possibility of using a robotic platform as a therapy aid for--children with autism. Because of the nature of this disability, the robot could be beneficial in its ability--to present the children with a safe and comfortable environment and allow them to explore and learn--about the interaction space involved in social situations. The robotic platform is able to present--information along a limited number of channels and in a manner which the children are familiar with--from television and cartoons. Also, the robot is potentially able to adapt its behaviour and to allow the--children to develop at their own rates. Initial trial results are presented and discussed, along with the--rationale behind the project and its goals and motivations. The trial procedure and methodology are--explained and future work is highlighted.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Social robots recognize and respond to human social cues with appropriate behaviors. The capabilities used to build social robots can be uniquely applied to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of autism, a pervasive developmental disorder which results in selective impairment of social abilities. This paper outlines some of the ways in which social robots can provide unique perspectives to address critical problems in diagnosing autism. We provide preliminary data and observations on how this result can be achieved based on three years of immersion in a clinical research group that performs diagnostic evaluations of more than 130 children per year.
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the design process of a spherical robot capable of autonomous motion, and demonstrates how it can become a tool in child-development studies. The robot, named Roball, is capable of intentional self-propelled movements and can generate various interplay situations using motion, messages, sounds, illuminated parts and other sensors. Such capabilities allow Roball to interact with young children in simple and interesting ways, and to provide the potential of contributing to the development of their language, affective, motor, intellectual and social skills. Trials done with 12-24-month-old children demonstrate how Roball can be used to study children's interest in a self-propelled and intentional device. An experimental methodology to conduct such studies is presented: it is based on quantitative and qualitative techniques to evaluate interactions, thus enabling the identification of challenges and opportunities in child-robot interaction studies.
Conference Paper
The paper proposes possible use of interactive robots in the remedial practice for children with autism, who have difficulties mainly in interpersonal communication. For this purpose, we built a small creature-like robot, Keepon, which was carefully designed to get autistic and non-autistic children involved in playful interaction. We observed how autistic children (2-4 years old) interacted with Keepon without any experimental setting or instructions in a playroom at a day-care center for children with special needs. From the longitudinal observation for a year and a half (totally, over 500 child-sessions), we found that Keepon's simple appearance and predictable responses gave the autistic children a playful and relaxed mood, in which they spontaneously engaged in dyadic play with Keepon, which would then expand into interpersonal communication where Keepon worked as the pivot of triadic play with adults or other children. Each child showed a different style and a different unfolding of interaction over time, which tell us a "story" of his or her personality and developmental profile, which would not be explained thoroughly by a diagnostic label like "autism".
Article
This article addresses design issues that are relevant in the AURORA project which aims at developing an autonomous, mobile robot as a therapeutic tool for children with autism. Cognitive theories of mindreading are discussed and related to the AURORA project. This approach is put in the broader context of interactive environments, which autonomous mobile robots are a special case of. Implications of this research for interactive environments in general, and virtual environments in particular are discussed. Keywords: Human-Robot Interaction, Mindreading, Autism, Rehabilitation, Interactive Environments 1. INTRODUCTION This article discusses the use of interactive environments (software or robotic) as learning and teaching tools for the rehabilitation of children with autism. The discussions draw upon experience gained in the AURORA project, which develops an autonomous, mobile robot as a therapeutic tool for children with autism (Dautenhahn, 1999
Using Cosmo's Learning System (CLS) with Children with Autism
  • C Lathan
  • K Boser
  • C Safos
  • C Frentz
  • K Powers
C. Lathan and K. Boser and C. Safos and C. Frentz and K. Powers (2007). Using Cosmo's Learning System (CLS) with Children with Autism. Proceedings of the International Conference on Technology-Based Learning with Disabilities. Dayton, OH. July.
Autonomous spherical mobile robot for childdevelopment studies
  • F Michaud
  • J.-F Laplante
  • H Larouche
  • A Duquette
  • S Caron
  • D Letourneau
  • P Masson
F. Michaud and J.-F Laplante and H. Larouche and A. Duquette and S. Caron and D. Letourneau and P. Masson (2005). Autonomous spherical mobile robot for childdevelopment studies. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. 35. (4). 471-480. July.