Interventions can be personalized for the needs of the child. Here are some ways that robots can interact with children on the autism spectrum.
Overall, children see robots as a fun experience. They enjoy learning and improving upon many skills. Children with ASD are drawn to Robot-Assisted Instruction (RAI), which encourages engagement during therapy sessions. Children come to see their robots as companions and can develop a positive relationship with their robots.
Robots are consistent and predictable, unlike humans who are unpredictable and generally inconsistent by nature. Educators know how overwhelmingly important predictability is for their students, especially students with ASD.
Predictability and routine allow for structure and safety in a learning environment. Robot sessions are consistent in that they are programmed to operate in similar formats. They can even repeat lessons until mastery is achieved.
Children with ASD always receive positive praise from a robot when they answer a question or complete a lesson.
Robotics can be used to teach, foster, and support life skills development. They can assist in exercises for speech and communication. They can also teach social skills and interaction by modeling behaviors and roleplaying.
Therapies can also extend to emotional regulation and improving mood. Life skills may include daily routines such as “brushing your teeth.” This helps the child build independence with such tasks. Robots can also improve the social behaviors of children with autism through fun, repetitive exercises focusing on topics such as joint attention; the ability to share attention with another on something or someone.