Robots are progressively providing us with a modern and evolutionary way of performing certain tasks. In addition to this, it has become evident that robots are playing a vital role in helping to teach kids who suffer from certain conditions. Research is showing that interaction between robots and kids with autism could have a positive effect on the child’s development.
Autism is a complex disorder of brain development that affects one in 68 children in the US, and each child will have his or her own pattern of autism. However, there are three common areas of a child’s life that are affected:
- Social interaction
- Communication (verbal and non-verbal)
- Behaviours and interests
Robots are unquestionably fun and inspirational. There is substantial evidence that many kids with autism find the robots intriguing and far less intimidating to communicate with than with fellow children or adults. Studies show that there is a 30 percent increase in the level of social interaction and verbal communication in children with autism when there is a robot in the room. Robots offer a unique skill set to therapy sessions, always remaining calm, never tiring and repeatedly delivering lessons without frustration.
In addition to improving communication, robots are able to give a child useful pre-programmed social skills to practice. The robot can then observe the kid’s reactions to the interactions. In doing so the robot is able to calculate the kid’s reaction time, collecting and providing data for evaluation. This in turn facilitates the therapists in pinpointing alternative exercises to further the kid’s development. In an alternative scenario, the therapist can even control the session via tele-operations with the robot mirroring the movements of the teacher.
By teaching kids about body language and emotions, robots inspire kids to imitate and practice what is learned. This helps them to develop socially and mentally. Yet another example of how modern technology is proving to have a genuine effect on the health, welfare, and mental vitality of children and adults across the globe.