Interaction with robots may benefit autistic children.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Robots (Social aspects)
Robots (Influence)
Autistic children (Social aspects)
Autistic children (Care and treatment)
Autistic children (Research)
Interpersonal relations in children (Research)
Pub Date: 09/22/2008
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Fall, 2008 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 310 Science & research Computer Subject: Robot
Accession Number: 187049610

Studies by Professor Maja Mataric and PhD student David Feil-Seifer have found that robot interaction can affect the social behavior of a child suffering from autism. Through preliminary research, they have confirmed that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can better interact socially with the robots than with humans.

The robots are capable of moving and blowing bubbles on their own. They can also be programmed to respond to the children as they push buttons. In either mode, both speech (utterances) and interaction (child-parent and child-robot) increased.

Mataric and Feil-Seifer are both specialists in Socially Assisted Robotics (SAR), and Mataric has been working in the field of socially assisted robots for years. The robots, also used to help Alzheimer's patients and stroke victims, record video and monitor every second of the therapy process. This allows for Mataric and Feil-Seifer to improve upon the already promising architecture.

"I am gratified by these preliminary results," said Mataric. "I believe that Socially Assistive Robotics has a part to play in helping families, both the affected children and their parents and siblings."

Mataric and Feil-Seifer will present their findings at three research conferences in the United States and Europe this summer.

Robot playmates may help children with autism. (2008, July 23). Science-Daily. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from
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