Long-term LEGO therapy with humanoid robot for children with ASD

  • Barakova E
  • Bajracharya P
  • Willemsen M
 et al. 
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To utilise the knowledge gained from highly specialised domains as autism therapy to robot-based interactive training platforms, an innovative design approach is needed. We present the process of content creation and co-design of LEGO therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders performed by a humanoid robot. The co-creation takes place across the disciplines of autism therapy, and behavioural robotics, and applies methods from design and human–robot interaction, in order to connect state-of-the-art developments in these disciplines. We designed, carried out and analyzed a pilot and final experiment, in which a robot mediated LEGO therapy between pairs of children was mediated by a robot over the course of 10 to 12 sessions. The impact of the training on the children was then analysed from a clinical and human–robot interaction perspective. Our major findings are as follows: first, game-based robot scenarios in which the game continues over the sessions opened possibilities for long-term interventions using robots and led to a significant increase in social initiations during the intervention in natural settings; and second, including dyadic interactions between robot and child within triadic games with robots has positive effects on the children's engagement and on creating learning moments that comply with the chosen therapy framework.

Author-supplied keywords

  • LEGO therapy with robots
  • children with ASD
  • humanoid robots
  • long-term interaction with a robot
  • participatory co-creation design

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  • Emilia I. Barakova

  • Prina Bajracharya

  • Marije Willemsen

  • Tino Lourens

  • Bibi Huskens

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