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    A Preliminary Study on Effectiveness of a Standardized Multi-Robot Therapy for Improvement in Collaborative Multi-Human Interaction of Children with ASD

    Ali, Sara, Mehmood, Faisal, Khan, Muhammad Jawad, Ayaz, Yasar, Asgher, Umer, Sadia, Haleema, Edifor, Ernest and Nawaz, Raheel ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9588-0052 (2020) A Preliminary Study on Effectiveness of a Standardized Multi-Robot Therapy for Improvement in Collaborative Multi-Human Interaction of Children with ASD. IEEE Access, 8.

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    Abstract

    This research article presents a preliminary longitudinal study to check the improvement in multi-human communication of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using a standardized multirobot therapy. The research is based on a 3 step framework: 1) Human-Human Interaction, Stage-1 (HHIS1), 2) Human-Robot Interaction, Stage-2 (HRI-S2), and 3) Human-Human Interaction, Stage-3 (HHI-S3). All three stages of the therapy consist of two command sets: 1) Controls commands and 2) Evaluation commands (auditory commands, visual commands, and combination of both). The concept of multiple robots is introduced to help multi-human communication and discourage isolation in ASD children. The joint attention of an ASD child is improved by the robotic therapy in stage 2 considering it as a key parameter for a multi-human communication scenario. The improvement in joint attention results in better command following in a triad multi-human communication scenario in stage 3 as compared to stage 1. The proposed intervention has been tested on 8 ASD subjects with 10 sessions over a period of two and a half months (10 weeks). Each session of human-human interaction (stage 1 and 3) consisted of 14 cues whereas 18 cues were presented by each robot for human-robot interaction (stage 2). The results indicate an overall 86improvement in the social communication skills of ASD children in case of a multi-human scenario. Validation of results and effectiveness of the therapy has been further accomplished through the use of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) score.

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