Who is a better teacher for children with autism? Comparison of learning outcomes between robot-based and human-based interventions in gestural production and recognition
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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tend to show deficits in engaging with humans. Previous findings have shown that robot-based training improves the gestural recognition and production of children with ASD. It is not known whether social robots perform better than human therapists in teaching children with ASD.

The present study aims to compare the learning outcomes in children with ASD and intellectual disabilities from robot-based intervention on gestural use to those from human-based intervention.

Methods and procedures
Children aged six to 12 with low-functioning autism were randomly assigned to the robot group (N = 12) and human group (N = 11). In both groups, human experimenters or social robots engaged in daily life conversations and demonstrated to children 14 intransitive gestures in a highly-structured and standardized intervention protocol.

Outcomes and results
Children with ASD in the human group were as likely to recognize gestures and produce them accurately as those in the robot group in both training and new conversations. Their learning outcomes maintained for at least two weeks.

Conclusions and implications
The social cues found in the human-based intervention might not influence gestural learning. It does not matter who serves as teaching agents when the lessons are highly structured.
Acceptance Date04/01/2019
All Author(s) ListSo W.C., Wong K.Y., Lam W.Y., Cheng C.H., Ku S.Y., Lam K.Y., Huang Y., Wong W.L.
Journal nameResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume Number86
Pages62 - 75
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2021-21-01 at 00:26