Robotic Intervention Program for Enhancement of Social Engagement among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Eva Yin-han ChungEmail author


This study investigated the effectiveness of a robotic intervention in enhancing the social engagement of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The clinical use of social or interactive robots is promising for enhancing the social skills of children with ASD. Teaching and intervention programs using humanoid robots for children with ASD are developing rapidly. In this study, a repeated-measures design was adopted to test the treatment effectiveness of a robotic intervention program; 14 students with ASD were recruited in this study. An individual-based social skills training program using the NAO robot was administered to each participant. Video recording was performed throughout the course of training. Systematic video analysis was conducted for the pre-intervention, mid-intervention, end of intervention and maintenance phases regarding 3 variables: frequency of eye contact, duration of eye contact, and frequency of verbal initiation. One-way analysis of variance for repeated measures was employed to demonstrate that the robotic intervention program significantly enhanced the eye contact (both frequency and duration) and verbal initiation of children with ASD. The robot served as a role model and facilitating agent to enable a therapeutic transaction between the child, environment, and activities to elicit self-initiated changes in the children with ASD.


Human robotic interaction Robotics ASD Social engagement 



The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This research was supported by the Internal Research Grant (RG87/2016-2017R) from the Education University of Hong Kong.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from parents of the children with ASD who would participate in this study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Special Education and CounselingThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong

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