Robots as Therapist?

Can robots help children with autism learn social skills? The New Face of Therapy, an article from Popular Science June 2010, explores the future of autism therapy. A research team from the University of Southern California is working to build robots that are sensitive enough to serve as playmates and therapist to children with autism. They are also working to make it affordable, under $1,000.

Why robots? The research group has found that individuals with autism respond better to machines than people, possibly because computers are more predictable than humans. Also, as anyone in the autism world knows, there seems to be a shortage of autism therapist, a problem that will only get worse as the rates of autism climb to 1 in 110 children born.  Most importantly, autism is treatable. With therapy, research continues to show that individuals improve, especially if treatment begins at an early age. These robots can also go into a child’s home for around the clock therapy.

While research still has a ways to go, the results seem promising.  Click here to see the results of the research and read the entire article.

How do you see technology changing the future of autism therapy?

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