Why Robots? A Survey on the Roles and Benefits of Social Robots in the Therapy of Children with Autism
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- Cabibihan, JJ., Javed, H., Ang, M. et al. Int J of Soc Robotics (2013) 5: 593. doi:10.1007/s12369-013-0202-2
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This paper reviews the use of socially interactive robots to assist in the therapy of children with autism. The extent to which the robots were successful in helping the children in their social, emotional and communication deficits was investigated. Child–robot interactions were scrutinized with respect to the different target behaviors that are to be elicited from a child during therapy. These behaviors were thoroughly examined with respect to a child’s development needs. Most importantly, experimental data from the surveyed works were extracted and analysed in terms of the target behaviors and of how each robot was used during a therapy session to achieve these behaviors. The study concludes by categorizing the different therapeutic roles that these robots were observed to play, and highlights the important design features that enable them to achieve high levels of effectiveness in autism therapy.