bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
Khresmoi - new !
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2018: N O S A J J M A M F J
2017: D N

 
  Other news for:
Autistic Disorder
Child Development
Technology, Medical
 Resources from HONselect
Meet Nao, the Robot That Helps Treat Kids With Autism

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It may seem counterintuitive, but a robot might help kids with autism interact better with humans.

This two-foot-tall robot goes by the name of Nao, and young kids who had therapy that included Nao made more progress on their social skills than those who didn't get to work with the robot, researchers report.

"This research using a combination of behavioral therapy plus a robot is promising," said Alycia Halladay, chief science officer of the Autism Science Foundation.

Children with autism often experience social deficits. They don't make eye contact, instead gazing elsewhere. They have trouble picking up on social cues like a smile or grimace. They struggle to express themselves.

To help children with autism learn social skills, therapists for decades have used Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) -- a form of behavioral analysis that utilizes play to increase kids' desire to learn good social behavior.

In this study, Dutch researchers evaluated whether PRT that included the robot would make a more lasting impression on the children.

Nao (pronounced "now") is manufactured by Aldebaran Robotics, a French company specializing in humanoid robots.

Nao can walk, talk, dance and engage kids in a number of activities meant to improve their ability to read facial expressions and maintain appropriate eye contact. Upon success, Nao can even offer a child a congratulatory high-five.

Kids in general love playing with robots, and prior research has shown that kids with autism, in particular, respond to robots, said lead researcher Iris Smeekens. She is a doctoral candidate with Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Human beings can be overwhelming to a kid with autism, displaying a cascade of movements and behaviors. On the other hand, robots are more reserved and reassuring to these children, Smeekens explained.

"Robots appeal to many children with autism spectrum disorder and show more predictable behavior, compared with humans," Smeekens said.

In 20 weekly sessions, therapists controlled the robot through nine different game scenarios aimed at improving skills, such as asking for an object or activity, requesting help, or asking questions.

Three months after these sessions concluded, parents judged their kids' autism symptoms using a questionnaire aimed at social skills.

Kids scored better if they underwent therapy with the robot, compared with either PRT alone or standard treatment, the researchers found.

The next step will be to test robotic therapy at more sites with longer follow-up periods, Smeekens said. In addition, the researchers will tweak the therapy to provide more specific treatment for kids.

"We noticed that nine different game scenarios with seven levels of complexity did not match all target behaviors of each child," Smeekens said.

"It is important that the game scenarios that provide input for the behavior of the robot are more adjustable in content and level of complexity during the robot-child interaction to match with different target behaviors, skills and interests," she explained.

Smeekens added that although these results are promising, researchers will need to figure out "which specific components are beneficial for which children with autism spectrum disorder before robots can be implemented into the clinical practice."

The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the International Society for Autism Research annual meeting, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The research should be considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Autism Speaks has more about Pivotal Response Treatment.

SOURCES: Alycia Halladay, Ph.D., chief science officer, Autism Science Foundation; Iris Smeekens, doctoral candidate, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; May 9, 2018, presentation, International Society for Autism Research annual meeting, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=733731

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Autistic Disorder
Research Personnel
Behavior
Therapeutics
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
Eye
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact