University of Hertfordshire

Robots as social mediators for children with Autism: A preliminary analysis comparing two different robotic platforms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProcs 2011 IEEE Int Conf on Development and Learning
Subtitle of host publicationICDL 2011
PublisherIEEE
Number of pages6
Volume2
ISBN (Print)978-1-61284-989-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event2011 IEEE Int Conf on Development and Learning, ICDL - Rome, Italy
Duration: 24 Aug 201127 Aug 2011

Conference

Conference2011 IEEE Int Conf on Development and Learning, ICDL
CountryItaly
CityRome
Period24/08/1127/08/11

Abstract

Robots can be very helpful therapeutic tools, especially for children with special needs. In the present paper we describe the application of two robotic platforms with different design parameters in interaction with children with autism and other cognitive impairments. IROMEC is a mobile robotic platform designed for children with different levels of disabilities to encourage them to be engaged in social interactions. KASPAR is a humanoid child-size robot designed for social interaction. KASPAR has been used extensively in studies with children with autism. The aim of this study is to examine how KASPAR and IROMEC can support social interaction and facilitate the cognitive and social development of children with special needs via play activities. Natural engagement in social play behaviour is often a problem in the development of children with disabilities. Due to the nature of their disabilities they are often excluded from such activities. As part of a long-term study we carried out different play scenarios based on imitation, turn taking and the cause and effect game according to the main educational and therapeutic objectives considered important for child development. In this paper we focus on the turn taking and the imitation game scenarios. A preliminary analysis of the data showed encouraging results. The level of the improvement of the children depended on the level and nature of their disabilities.

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