Robots help autistic children boost social skills

These robots are helping autistic children

boost their social skills through role play

Location: Hong Kong

Robot for Autism Behavioral Intervention (RABI) {arrow pointing at the robot}

ROBOT "SCREAMING" DURING ROLE PLAYING/ OTHER ROBOT SAYING (English): "SKY, CALM DOWN, WHAT HAPPENED?"

ROBOT ANSWERING (English): "IT'S BEAN, SHE FINISHED MY SNACKS WITHOUT ASKING ME"

ROBOT ANSWERING (English): "LET'S TRY CALMING DOWN AND SLOWLY COUNT TO TEN"

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, CATHERINE SO, SAYING:"These individuals with autism, they have low motivation interacting with the human beings, and also they have hypersensitivities to the sensations around the world, for example, the human facial expressions or the human voices. So, we use the social robots to teach them the social skills in order to reduce the anxiety, and also to make sure that our programme is predictable and also structured."

More than 1,200 children have used the program since 2015

(SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) MOTHER OF CHILD WITH AUTISM, MUSE WONG, SAYING: "She is now more active such as asking people what their names are and who they are. She has started to have some degree of social life. And also, her speaking skills (have improved) from saying single words, to using vocabulary and forming sentences. The credit goes to them (the robots and the team)."

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