Brief Report: A Novel System to Evaluate Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Two Humanoid Robots

Abstract

We investigated the feasibility of our novel evaluation system for use with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We prepared the experimental setting with two humanoid robots in reference to the birthday party scene in the Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule (ADOS). We assessed the relationship between social communication ability measured in the ADOS condition (i.e., with a human clinician) and in a robotic condition for children with ASD. There were significant correlations between the social communication scores in the gold-standard ADOS condition and the robotic condition for children with ASD. The current work provides support for a unique application of a robotic system (i.e., two robot-mediated interaction) to evaluate the severity of autistic traits for children with ASD.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed).). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Chiang, C.-H., Soong, W.-T., Lin, T.-L., & Rogers, S. J. (2008). Nonverbal communication skills in young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 1898–1906. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0586-2.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Dawson, G., et al. (2010). Randomized, controlled trial of an intervention for toddlers with autism: The Early Start Denver Model. Pediatrics, 125, e17–e23. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2009-0958.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Elsabbagh, M., et al. (2012). Global prevalence of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Autism Research, 5, 160–179. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.239.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Estes, A., Munson, J., Rogers, S. J., Greenson, J., Winter, J., & Dawson, G. (2015). Long-term outcomes of early intervention in 6-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54, 580–587. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2015.04.005.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. Feil-Seifer, D., & Matarić, M. J. (2009). Toward socially assistive robotics for augmenting interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. Experimental Robotics, 54, 201–210 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-00196-3_24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hansen, S. N., Schendel, D. E., & Parner, E. T. (2015). Explaining the increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders: The proportion attributable to changes in reporting practices. JAMA Pediatrics, 169, 56–62. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1893.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Kaiser, M. D., Delmolino, L., Tanaka, J. W., & Shiffrar, M. (2010). Comparison of visual sensitivity to human and object motion in autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research, 3, 191–195. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.137.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Kamio, Y., et al. (2013). Quantitative autistic traits ascertained in a national survey of 22 529 Japanese schoolchildren. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 128, 45–53. https://doi.org/10.1111/acps.12034.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Kasari, C., Freeman, S., & Paparella, T. (2006). Joint attention and symbolic play in young children with autism: A randomized controlled intervention study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 611–620. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01567.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Kasari, C., Gulsrud, A. C., Wong, C., Kwon, S., & Locke, J. (2010). Randomized controlled caregiver mediated joint engagement intervention for toddlers with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40, 1045–1056. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0955-5.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  12. Kaufman, A., & Kaufman, N. (1983). Kaufman assessment battery for children: Administration and scoring manual. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service; 1983.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kopp, S., & Gillberg, C. (1992). Girls with social deficits and learning problems: Autism, atypical Asperger syndrome or a variant of these conditions. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 1, 88–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kumazaki, H., et al. (2015). Sex differences in cognitive and symptom profiles in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 13–14, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2014.12.011.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Kumazaki, H., et al. (2018). Can robotic systems promote self-disclosure in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder? A pilot study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 36. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00036.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  16. Lord, C., et al. (2000). The autism diagnostic observation schedule-generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 205–223.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Lord, C., Petkova, E., Hus, V., Gan, W., Lu, F., Martin, D. M., et al. (2012). A multisite study of the clinical diagnosis of different autism spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 306–313.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Otsubo, T., et al. (2005). Reliability and validity of Japanese version of the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 59, 517–526. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1819.2005.01408.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Ozonoff, S., et al. (2010). A prospective study of the emergence of early behavioral signs of autism. J Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 49, 256 – 66 e1-2.

  20. Peca, A., Simut, R., Pintea, S., Costescu, C., & Vanderborght, B. (2014). How do typically developing children and children with autism perceive different social robots? Computers in Human Behavior, 41, 268–277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.035.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Pennisi, P., et al. (2016). Autism and social robotics: A systematic review. Autism Research, 9, 165–183. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1527.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Pierno, A. C., Mari, M., Lusher, D., & Castiello, U. (2008). Robotic movement elicits visuomotor priming in children with autism. Neuropsychologia, 46, 448–454. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.08.020.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Rutter, M., Bailey, A., & Lord, C. (2010). The social communication questionnaire. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Scassellati, B. (2007). How social robots will help us to diagnose, treat, and understand autism. Robotics Research, 28, 552–563 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-48113-3_47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Schertz, H. H., Odom, S. L., Baggett, K. M., & Sideris, J. H. (2018). Mediating parent learning to promote social communication for toddlers with autism: effects from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48, 853–867. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3386-8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Schultz, R. T., et al. (2000). Abnormal ventral temporal cortical activity during face discrimination among individuals with autism and Asperger syndrome. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 331–340.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Sheehan, D. V., et al. (1998). The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.): The development and validation of a structured diagnostic psychiatric interview for DSM-IV and ICD-10. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 59(20), 22–33 quiz 34–57.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Shimaya, J., et al. (2016). Advantages of indirect conversation via a desktop humanoid robot: Case study on daily life guidance for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. 831–836 https://doi.org/10.1109/roman.2016.7745215.

  29. Smith, T., A.D. Groen, J.W. Wynn (2000). Randomized trial of intensive early intervention for children with pervasive developmental disorder. American Journal on Mental Retardation 105, 269–285 https://doi.org/10.1352/0895-8017(2000)105%3C0269:RTOIEI%3E2.0.CO;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Tachibana, Y., et al. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of comprehensive interventions for pre-school children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PLoS ONE, 12, e0186502. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186502.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. Tantam, D. (2003). The challenge of adolescents and adults with asperger syndrome. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12, 143–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Weintraub, K. (2011). The prevalence puzzle: Autism counts. Nature, 479, 22–24. https://doi.org/10.1038/479022a.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Wing, L., Leekam, S. R., Libby, S. J., Gould, J., & Larcombe, M. (2002). The diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders: background, inter-rater reliability and clinical use. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 307–325.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Wolff, S., & McGuire, R. J. (1995). Schizoid personality in girls: A follow-up study—what are the links with Asperger’s syndrome? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36(5), 793–817.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We have no financial relationships to disclose. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the participants.

Funding

Funding was provided by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant No. 18H02746), ERATO ISHIGURO Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project and the Center of Innovation Program from the Japan Science and Technology Agency, JST, Japan.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

HK designed the study, conducted the experiment, performed the statistical analyses, analyzed and interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. TM, YuiY, YukY, TI, CH, DNS, JS, HI, MM and MK conceived the study, participated in its design, assisted with the data collection and scoring of the behavioral measures, analyzed and interpreted the data, were involved in drafting the manuscript and revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. MK was involved in the final approval of the version to be published. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hirokazu Kumazaki.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Yuichiro Yoshikawa and Hiroshi Ishiguro serve as consultants of Vstone Co. Ltd. Hiroshi Ishiguro owns stock in the same company.

Ethical Approval

All procedures involving human participants were conducted 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.

Informed Consent

Participants were recruited from Kanazawa University Hospital and related institutions. After a complete explanation of the study, all the participants and their parents provided written, informed consent. All participants and their parents agreed to participate in the study.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 17780 KB)

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 17780 KB)

Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 19 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kumazaki, H., Muramatsu, T., Yoshikawa, Y. et al. Brief Report: A Novel System to Evaluate Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Two Humanoid Robots. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 1709–1716 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3848-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Typical development
  • ADOS
  • Severity
  • Social communication
  • Robot