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Collaborative Research Project: Developing and Testing a Robot-Assisted Intervention for Children With Autism

Abstract : The present work is a collaborative research aimed at testing the effectiveness of the robot-assisted intervention administered in real clinical settings by real educators. Social robots dedicated to assisting persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are rarely used in clinics. In a collaborative effort to bridge the gap between innovation in research and clinical practice, a team of engineers, clinicians and researchers working in the field of psychology developed and tested a robot-assisted educational intervention for children with low-functioning ASD (N = 20) A total of 14 lessons targeting requesting and turn-taking were elaborated, based on the Pivotal Training Method and principles of Applied Analysis of Behavior. Results showed that sensory rewards provided by the robot elicited more positive reactions than verbal praises from humans. The robot was of greatest benefit to children with a low level of disability. The educators were quite enthusiastic about children's progress in learning basic psychosocial skills from interactions with the robot. The robot nonetheless failed to act as a social mediator, as more prosocial behaviors were observed in the control condition, where instead of interacting with the robot children played with a ball. We discuss how to program robots to the distinct needs of individuals with ASD, how to harness robots' likability in order to enhance social skill learning, and how to arrive at a consensus about the standards of excellence that need to be met in interdisciplinary co-creation research. Our intuition is that robotic assistance, obviously judged as to be positive by educators, may contribute to the dissemination of innovative evidence-based practice for individuals with ASD.
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https://hal-univ-tlse2.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03115543
Contributor : Viviane Kostrubiec <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 5:41:19 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 3:25:56 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 7:57:31 PM

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Viviane Kostrubiec, Jeanne Kruck. Collaborative Research Project: Developing and Testing a Robot-Assisted Intervention for Children With Autism. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Frontiers Media S.A., 2020, 7, pp.37. ⟨10.3389/frobt.2020.00037⟩. ⟨hal-03115543⟩

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