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Comparing the Effectiveness of Different Reinforcement Stimuli in a Robotic Therapy for Children With ASD

Ali, Sara and Mehmood, Faisal and Ayaz, Yasar and Khan, Muhammad Jawad and Sadia, Haleema and Nawaz, Raheel (2020) Comparing the Effectiveness of Different Reinforcement Stimuli in a Robotic Therapy for Children With ASD. IEEE Access, 8. pp. 13128-13137.

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Abstract

Recent research has shown reliability in robotic therapies for improvement in core impairments of autism. To improve the efficiency of communication using robots, this study evaluates the effectiveness of three different stimuli in a robotic intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. Three different reinforcement stimuli presented in least-to-most (LTM) order introduced in this therapy using NAO robot are: visual (color variation), auditory and motion cues. The therapy was tested on 12 ASD children, 4 out of 12 children fall under mild category whereas 8 fall under the minimal category of autism. The experimentation was conducted for 2 months. Total 8 experiments were conducted with 1 trial per week. Total 12 cues were given per trial, 4 cues corresponding to each category. In total 96 cues were given per subject, 32 cues from each category. The results indicate a general trend for linking a particular autism category with the most effective stimulus for that category. It can be concluded that visual cue (color variation) is the most effective reinforcement stimulus for children with minimal autism as 8 out of 8 i.e., 100% were more responsive to visual cues whereas for children with mild autism category, 3 out of 4 i.e., 75% are more receptive towards the motion stimulus. The parameters used for assessment were joint attention and the time eye contact is maintained. Single factor ANOVA was used for the statistical analysis of results with alpha is 0.05 and p-value 0.0342, F value is 3.7456 and F critical value is 3.2834. The test was performed on 96 ( $8\times 12$ ) trails in total, therefore ensuring the significance and reliability of our results.

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