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NAO for Autism: An Effective Way to Develop Social Skills

Autism is being experienced in different parts of the world. Obviously there's a wide spectrum of Autism. Some people who are autistic can hardly communicate and blend with the crowd. They easily lose their focus and sometimes act violently. But with the continuous innovation of technology, a program for the NAO robot called ASK NAO was made to help children with autism develop their social skills. This will make it easier for them to interact with people or respond with different actions.

A humanoid made in France that was named NAO, is a two foot tall is now able to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interact with the people around them. With the presence of the robot, children with autism can learn the basic social skill which is called joint attention.

The ASK NAO software was formed by a group of experts in Vanderbilt University. This innovation was created to answer the increasing number of children who are diagnosed with autism and the needs to allocate a large budget for the treatment of ASD patients.

The idea for this system came from Nilanjan Sarkar, Vanderbilt Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering, after he visited his cousin in India who is diagnosed with ASD. Sarkar had used his original research wherein he had come up with a system that aims to develop the interface of man-machine.

In order to build the system that will help autistic kids with joint attention, Sarkar and Warren, who control the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) at Vanderbilt’s Kennedy Center decided to form a team that include Esubalew Bekele, Uttama LahiriAmy Swanson, , and Julie Crittendon.

The team believes that the robotic system is the best way that children with autism can learn social communication skills that will make them become productive individuals. One cannot deny the fact that special education for autism is requiring more and more human therapists which are now in short supply. The robotic system doesn’t intent to replace human therapists instead it will help them to do their job of educating children with autism.

When they have tried the robotic system in a group of children, they found out that the kids are more interested following what the robotic system wants them to do. Their attention is into the system and not to the therapists. In this case, it only shows that using the system will make it easier for children with autism to learn social skills. There is nothing to worry about repeating the actions over and over again because the robot will never get tired unlike the human therapist.

If it is still hard for an autistic child to follow what the system directs him to do, then the system can make a verbal prompt. 

  • Oct 31, 2015 11:14:52 PM

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