Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) present limitations in social communication and social interaction at home, in school, and in community contexts. Teaching and intervention programmes that use humanoid robots have been developing rapidly to improve the social functioning of children with ASD. This study evaluated the effectiveness of using a social robot to enhance the social skills of children with ASD. An ABA time-series analysis was used to examine the effects of the social robot on the social skills of children with ASD over 12 weeks. The study recruited 15 children with ASD from mainstream schools. A series of baseline measurements was taken at different time points in the pre-intervention phase, during which the children received social skill training from a human instructor only. In the intervention phase, the robot was integrated into the training programme to assist the instructor in conducting structured interactive social games, story-based activities, and singing or dancing activities. In the generalisation phase, the session switched back to the original training mode without the robot. The results of visual analysis and Tau-U analysis confirmed that the robotic educational programme was effective in improving the eye contact (in frequency and duration) and verbal initiation of the children with the human instructor. The improvement of the children was sustained even after the withdrawal of the robot in the generalisation phase. These implications on the practice and future development of using social robots for social skill training are discussed in this paper. Copyright © 2020 Springer Nature B.V.
CitationChung, E. Y.-H. (2020). Robot-mediated social skill intervention programme for children with autism spectrum disorder: An ABA time-series study. International Journal of Social Robotics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s12369-020-00699-w
- Social skill training
- Time-series analysis