(Last Updated On: 13 January 2022)

Working with robots during intervention for autism

The use of robots for play, education and even therapy has increased considerably in recent years.

They are playful and innovative and have several advantages for their users, especially in the field of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  

This PhD project is carried out by Louise Charpiot under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Georges Steffgen from the Health and Behaviour group of the Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences.

WHY ROBOTS FOR AUTISM?

The field of socially assistive robots aims to make care for people with ASD more accessible, less expensive and more effective. In this sense, research has already shown the usefulness of robot-assisted interventions for children with ASD: children with ASD who interact with robots show fewer repetitive and stereotyped behaviours, which can affect their learning, and they display more behaviours (such as joint attention and imitation) that are useful for interventions. Thus, research has shown that socially assistive robots can be useful in providing the necessary support and treatment for children with ASD. On this basis, many robots have been developed to improve the social communication of children with ASD and to teach them imitation, joint attention, turn-taking and role switching. However, these robots are mostly used in research and the reality of practitioners in the field, their needs, fears and difficulties, have not been assessed. Indeed, although these robots were developed for intervention with children with ASD, they will mainly be used by health and education professionals who work with these individuals.  

ROBOTS: USEFUL FOR CHILDREN BUT ALSO FOR PRACTITIONERS

In order to ensure the success of robotic solutions developed for ASD and to guarantee that they will benefit the population for which they are intended – children with ASD – the perspective of practitioners must be taken into account. Therefore, we are assessing in this project whether socially assistive robots can also benefit practitioners and how this should be implemented. In this project, we aim to answer research questions such as “What are the triggers and barriers to the acceptance of robotic solutions by practitioners?”, “How should we design robot-assisted interventions with and for practitioners?”, “How will the use of these robotic solutions affect the work and well-being of practitioners?”.  

The project will run from 2018 to 2022 and is carried out in collaboration with the Fondation Autisme Luxembourg (FAL) and specialised bordering centres. 

TEAM MEMBERS INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT

Louise Charpiot

PhD Candidate

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Georges Steffgen

Supervisor

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Andreia Costa

Scientific Advisor

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