Effect of Robot–Child Interactions on Bilateral Coordination Skills of Typically Developing Children and a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Preliminary Study

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Background:

Coordination develops gradually over development with younger children showing more unstable coordination patterns compared to older children and adults. In addition, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) display significant coordination impairments. In the current study, we examined whether robot–child interactions could improve bilateral coordination skills of typically developing (TD) children and one child with ASD.

Method:

Fourteen TD children between four and seven years of age and an 11-year-old child with ASD performed dual-limb and multilimb actions within a solo and social context during a pre- and posttest. Between the pre- and posttests, eight training sessions were offered across four weeks during a robot imitation context involving karate and dance actions.

Results:

Younger TD children and the child with ASD improved their solo coordination whereas the older TD children increased their social coordination.

Limitations:

This preliminary study lacked a control group.

Conclusions:

Robot–child interactions may facilitate bilateral coordination and could be a promising intervention tool for children with ASDs.

Kaur is with the Physical Therapy Program, Dept. of Kinesiology, Neag School of Education, and the Center for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Gifford and Marsh are with the Dept. of Psychology, the Center for Ecological Study of Perception and Action, and the Center for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Bhat is with the Physical Therapy Program, Dept. of Kinesiology, Neag School of Education, the Center for Ecological Study of Perception and Action, and the Center for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.