Development of a robot-based environment for training children with autism

E.I. Barakova, Mingyu Kim, T. Lourens

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    This study is done as a part of design-research processes that aims to co-create technology supported robot centered therapy environment for autistic children. We attempt to evaluate to which extent the therapists who perform behavioral training of children with autism can be supported by robot technology in the process of therapy content creation and training. First, we feature a robot-centered environment that is technically designed to decrease the complexity of programming dynamic, synchronous and parallel interactive robot behavior to a level compatible with content creation. Afterwards, we apply the Cognitive Dimensions Framework (CDF) approach for evaluation of the usability of this environment that is employed to control a robot interacting with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A pilot test with therapists of two clinics followed by a test with adolescents with autism was performed. Participants in the pilot test performed tasks according to the different types of user activity in the CDF, and answered a questionnaire corresponding with the different dimensions. The results show negative attitude towards one particular dimension, but also high scores in other dimensions. As an additional validation of the usability of the environment, 9 adolescents with ASD could also create robot scenarios. We interpret these results as follows. In general, the therapists and autistic adolescents could program relatively simple behavioral scenarios with robots. However, we need to further explore whether assembling and executing of more complex robot scenarios such as programming of dynamic real-life behaviors and task scheduling is possible by end-users.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUniversal Access in Human-Computer Interaction: Aging and Assistive Environments - 8th International Conference, UAHCI 2014, Held as Part of HCI International 2014, Proceedings
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)9783319074450
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event8th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (UAHCI 2014) - Heraklion, Greece
    Duration: 22 Jun 201427 Jun 2014
    Conference number: 8

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    NumberPART 3
    Volume8515 LNCS
    ISSN (Print)03029743
    ISSN (Electronic)16113349


    Conference8th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (UAHCI 2014)
    Abbreviated titleUAHCI 2014
    Other Held as Part of 16th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International 2014


    • autism spectrum disorder
    • co-creation of contents
    • cognitive dimensions framework
    • robot assisted autism therapy


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