Brief Report: A Pilot Summer Robotics Camp to Reduce Social Anxiety and Improve Social/Vocational Skills in Adolescents with ASD
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- Kaboski, J.R., Diehl, J.J., Beriont, J. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2015) 45: 3862. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2153-3
This pilot study evaluated a novel intervention designed to reduce social anxiety and improve social/vocational skills for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The intervention utilized a shared interest in robotics among participants to facilitate natural social interaction between individuals with ASD and typically developing (TD) peers. Eight individuals with ASD and eight TD peers ages 12–17 participated in a weeklong robotics camp, during which they learned robotic facts, actively programmed an interactive robot, and learned “career” skills. The ASD group showed a significant decrease in social anxiety and both groups showed an increase in robotics knowledge, although neither group showed a significant increase in social skills. These initial findings suggest that this approach is promising and warrants further study.