The Effect of Robot-Child Interactions on Social Attention and Verbalization Patterns of Typically Developing Children and Children With Autism Between 4 and 8 YearsSudha Srinivasan1,3 and Anjana Bhat1,2,3*
- *Corresponding Author:
- Anjana Bhat, PT, PhD
Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy Program
Department of Kinesiology
Neag School of Education, 358 Mansfield Road
U2101, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269; USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date May 27, 2013; Accepted date August 08, 2013; Published date August 10, 2013
Citation: Srinivasan S, Bhat A (2013) The Effect of Robot-Child Interactions on Social Attention and Verbalization Patterns of Typically Developing Children and Children with Autism between 4 and 8 Years. Autism 3:111. doi:10.4172/2165-7890.1000111
Copyright: © 2013 Srinivasan S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
1.1 Background: There is anecdotal evidence for the use of robots to facilitate prosocial behaviors such as joint attention and verbalization in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). However, there have been no normative data in typically developing children to evaluate the effects of robot-child interactions on social and communication skills.
1.2 Objectives: The aim of our study was to evaluate the changes in social attention and verbalization skills of 15 typically developing (TD) children using a structured 8-session imitation protocol within a robot-adult-child context. We further extended this imitation protocol to two children with ASDs.
1.3 Methods: Pretest, session1, session 4, session 8, and posttest sessions were coded for attention patterns and the duration of verbalization of the children.
1.4 Results: TD children directed maximum attention towards the robot during training; however, they were bored with the limited repertoire of the robot over time. The training context also facilitated spontaneous verbalization between the child and the trainer. The context of robot-child interactions also afforded social attention and spontaneous verbalization in both children with ASDs.
1.5 Conclusions: Our findings suggest that robot-child interactions may be an enjoyable context for TD children as well as children with ASDs. Our future studies will rigorously examine the use of engaging, robot-child interaction contexts for facilitating social communication skills in children with ASDs.