Robots Help Children With Autism

Robots help children with autism

Robots have now become so advanced that they are an increasingly normal part of our lives (think of robot vacuum cleaners or robot chefs, for example). Some of these robots have even started to look more human. It can therefore be quite ‘scary’ to think how quickly these programmed machines develop.

However, this does not detract from the enormous potential they already have and will have in the future. Of all that potential, their special ability to help children with different forms of autism stands out.

Many children with autism experience social isolation and have difficulties communicating. These things make it harder to help them. It’s like talking to a wall. But there is good news – it seems that robots are more successful than us in this area.

Children with autism communicate with robots

It’s a strange paradox: many children with autism who have problems communicating with their environment experience no problems when it comes to communicating with a robot. We are specifically talking about small, simple, emotional robots with eyes and limbs.

These robots have led to a new concept that we could call ‘robot therapy’. In this case, they help children with autism. But how do these robots manage to do something that we can’t even do ourselves?

Boys with autism and his robot

To find answers, let’s take a look at Juan’s story. Juan is six years old and when he was two years old he was diagnosed with autism. He stopped talking, stopped communicating with other people, and withdrew more and more into himself. This made him quite aggressive, which was also quite difficult for his loved ones.

Juan’s mother didn’t know who to turn to. They had tried all the recommended therapies, but nothing worked with Juan. It seemed as if his condition was only getting worse, not better. His mother did not hesitate when she was told about the possibility of doing therapy with robots. And it didn’t take long for the results to appear.

For some reason, Juan started to step outside of his self-created bubble. He started communicating with the robot doing his therapy. His mother could hardly contain her enthusiasm! Her son touched the robot, laughed and even repeated some words the robot said. It was a huge achievement.

Working together with robots helps children in their daily lives

You might wonder what good it would be for Juan to be able to communicate with a robot. After all, isn’t it about him talking to people? Juan, however, had a lot to do with it. In fact, all the progress he made with the robot helped him communicate with the rest of his environment.

Because he had shut himself down, stopped talking and stopped responding to people around him, Juan was unable to improve his communication skills. Thanks to robotic therapy, his vocabulary started to improve. It also stimulated his emotions. Juan started to laugh and he was finally able to express what he felt.

Children with autism work with robots

Without robotic therapy, Juan might never have come out of his shell. Or maybe he just needed a little more time. We do not know. All we do know is that this new kind of therapy has produced incredible results. It has helped Juan and many other children to cope with their environment and develop social skills.

For example, many children with autism spectrum disorders have an amazing talent for music or painting. They invest all their creative energy into these things. It is the only form of interaction they are capable of. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a brush, an instrument or something completely different.

Now they can communicate in a more ‘humane’ way. Robots help children with autism to take steps forward and then transfer that progress to their daily lives.

Finally…

There is still no cure for autism. However, people are still exploring new ways to encourage children with autism so they can develop the tools they need to interact with their environment.

Thanks, robots! 

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