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See detailMental health benefits of a robot-mediated emotional ability training for children with autism: An exploratory study.
Pinto Costa, Andreia UL; Kirsten, Lena; Charpiot, Louise UL et al

Scientific Conference (2019)

Background: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a high prevalence of mental health problems that are linked to reduced emotional abilities. Therefore, interventions that teach emotional ... [more ▼]

Background: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a high prevalence of mental health problems that are linked to reduced emotional abilities. Therefore, interventions that teach emotional abilities are fundamental for their development. However, existing interventions are costly, of difficult access, or inefficient for children with ASD. Furthermore, children with ASD have a preference for sameness and routines that makes technology, and especially robots, an ideal medium to convey interventions that are suitable to their needs. Objectives: The aim of the present exploratory study is to evaluate whether a robot-mediated emotional ability training is effective in enhancing the emotional ability and the mental health of children with ASD. Methods: Using a pre-post training design, 12 children with ASD (all boys) aged between 8 and 14 years (M = 10.93; SD = 2.46) undertook a 7 week long emotional ability training mediated by a robot. Sessions took place weekly and lasted 1h each. Children were compared before (T1) and after (T2) the training on their emotional ability and their mental health. Emotional ability was measured through the parent-report measures Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC; Shields & Cicchetti, 1997), Emotion Regulation Rating Scale (ERRS; Carlson & Wang, 2007), Self-Control Rating Scale (SCRS; Kendall & Wilcox, 1979), and the Alexithymia Questionnaire for Children (Rieffe et al., 2006); as well through a direct measure of children’s use of emotion regulation strategies using the Reactive and Regulation Situation Tasks (Carthy et al., 2010). Mental health was measured through the parent-report measures Children Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; Goodman, 1997), and the Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS-2; Constantino, 2002). Results: It was found that regarding emotional ability, children’s use of emotion regulation strategies in the Reactive and Regulation Situation Task, improved significantly after the training (t(10) = 2.81, p < .01) but no significant improvements were found on the parent-reported measures (ERC: t(10) = 0.43, p = .34; SCRS: t(10) = 1.26, p = .12), except for a marginally significant effect on children’s emotional control (ERRS: t(10) = 1.79, p = .05). Regarding mental health, the training significantly reduced internalizing problems (CBCL: t(11) = 1.91, p < .05; SDQ: t(11) = 3.19, p < .01) and autism-related symptomatology (SRS-2: t(11) = 3.24, p < .01), but did not have an effect on externalizing problems (CBCL: t(11) = 0.41, p = 34; SDQ: t(11) = 3.13, p = 07). Discussion: Overall, the results of the present study are to be interpreted cautiously, they provide restricted evidence of positive effects of the robot-mediated emotional ability training in children’s use of adaptive emotional abilities and in mental health issues such as depressive symptomatology and anxiety as well as autism-related social communication difficulties. This exploratory study contributes to the research progress in the domain of robot-mediated interventions for children with ASD. [less ▲]

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See detailAttitudes of Children with Autism towards Robots: An Exploratory Study
Pinto Costa, Andreia UL; Schweich, Tonie UL; Charpiot, Louise UL et al

in ACM SIGCHI IDC2018 Workshop on Children's Robotics and Child-Robot Interaction (2018, June)

In this exploratory study we assessed how attitudes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) towards robots together with children’s autism-related social impairments are linked to indicators of ... [more ▼]

In this exploratory study we assessed how attitudes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) towards robots together with children’s autism-related social impairments are linked to indicators of children’s preference of an interaction with a robot over an interaction with a person. We found that children with ASD have overall positive attitudes towards robots and that they often prefer interacting with a robot than with a person. Several of children’s attitudes were linked to children’s longer gazes towards a robot compared to a person. Autism-related social impairments were linked to more repetitive and stereotyped behaviors and to a shorter gaze duration in the interaction with the robot compared to the person. These preliminary results contribute to better understand factors that might help determine sub-groups of children with ASD for whom robots could be particularly useful. [less ▲]

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See detailA comparison between a person and a robot in the attention, imitation, and repetitive and stereotypical behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder.
Pinto Costa, Andreia UL; Charpiot, Louise UL; Lera, Francisco et al

Scientific Conference (2018)

The aim of the present study was to assess the usefulness of QT, a socially assistive robot, in interventions with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by assessing children’s attention, imitation ... [more ▼]

The aim of the present study was to assess the usefulness of QT, a socially assistive robot, in interventions with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by assessing children’s attention, imitation, and presence of repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Fifteen children diagnosed with ASD, aged from 4 to 14 years participated in two short interactions, one with a person and one with QT robot. Statistical analyses revealed that children directed more attention towards the robot than to the person, imitated the robot as much as the person, and engaged in fewer repetitive or stereotyped behaviors with the robot than with the person. These results support previous research demonstrating the usefulness of robots in interventions with children with ASD and provide new evidence to the usefulness of robots in reducing repetitive and stereotyped behaviors in children with ASD, which can affect children’s learning. [less ▲]

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See detailMore Attention and Less Repetitive and Stereotyped Behaviors using a Robot with Children with Autism
Pinto Costa, Andreia UL; Charpiot, Louise UL; Rodriguez Lera, Francisco Javier UL et al

in 27th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, RO-MAN 2018, Nanjing, China, August 27-31, 2018 (2018)

The aim of the present study was to assess the usefulness of QTrobot, a socially assistive robot, in interventions with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by assessing children's attention ... [more ▼]

The aim of the present study was to assess the usefulness of QTrobot, a socially assistive robot, in interventions with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by assessing children's attention, imitation, and presence of repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Fifteen children diagnosed with ASD, aged from 4 to 14 years participated in two short interactions, one with a person and one with the robot. Statistical analyses revealed that children directed more attention towards the robot than towards the person, imitated the robot as much as the person, and engaged in fewer repetitive or stereotyped behaviors with the robot than with the person. These results support previous research demonstrating the usefulness of robots in short interactions with children with ASD and provide new evidence to the usefulness of robots in reducing repetitive and stereotyped behaviors in children with ASD, which can affect children's learning. [less ▲]

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