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An explorative study on robotics for supporting children with autism spectrum disorder during clinical procedures

DI Nuovo, A, Bamforth, J, Conti, D, Sage, K ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7365-5177, Ibbotson, R, Clegg, J, Westaway, A and Arnold, K (2020) An explorative study on robotics for supporting children with autism spectrum disorder during clinical procedures. In: HRI: ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 23 March 2020 - 26 March 2020.

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Abstract

This short report presents a small-scale explorative study about children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) interaction with robots during clinical interactions. This is part of an ongoing project, which aims at defining a robotic service for supporting children with developmental disabilities and increase the efficiency of routine procedures that may create distress, e.g. having blood taken or an orthopaedic plaster cast applied. Five children with confirmed diagnoses of ASD interacted with two social robots: the small humanoid NAO and the pet-like MiRo. The encounters mixed play activities with a simulated clinical procedure. We included parents/carers in the interaction to ensure the child was comfortable and at ease. The results of video analysis and parents' feedback confirm possible benefits of the physical presence of robots to reduce children's anxiety and increase compliance with instructions. Parents/carers convincingly support the introduction of robots in hospital procedures to their help children.

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