Robot Enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism (DREAM): A Social Model of Autism

Article English OPEN
Richardson, Kathleen ; Coecklebergh, M ; Wakunuma, Kutoma ; Billing, Erik ; Ziemke, Tom ; Gomez, P ; Vanderborght, Bram ; Belpaeme, Tony (2017)
  • Publisher: IEEE Technology and Society
  • Journal: (issn: 0278-0097)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1109/mts.2018.2795096
  • Subject: Autism and robots | social model of disability
    mesheuropmc: behavioral disciplines and activities | mental disorders

Development of Robot-enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders The development of social robots for children with autism has been a growth field in the last 15 years. This paper reviews studies in robots and autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts on social-communication development and the way in which social robots could help children with autism develop social skills. Drawing on the ethics research from the EU funded DREAM project (framework 7), based on incorporating perspectives in our way of understanding autism from autism advocacy, parents of children with autism, medical practitioners in the field, and adults with Asperger’s, we propose that we start from the position that the child with autism is a social being with difficulties in expressing this sociality, and then following on from this core assumption, exploring how social robots can help children with autism develop social skills. We challenge the view that children with autism prefer technologies over other kinds of activities (exploring nature or the arts), engagements with other living beings (animals) or lack interest in human relationship (particularly close caregivers).
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