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  • Author: Kerry L. Marsh x
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Maninderjit Kaur, Timothy Gifford, Kerry L. Marsh and Anjana Bhat

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.

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Stacy M. Lopresti-Goodman, Michael J. Richardson, Reuben M. Baron, Claudia Carello and Kerry L. Marsh

The actualization of a simple affordance task—grasping and moving wooden planks of different sizes using either one or two hands—was assessed in the context of taskrelevant (plank sequence, plank presentation speed) and task-irrelevant (cognitive load) manipulations. In Experiment 1, fast (3 s/plank) and self-paced (≈5 s/plank) presentation speeds revealed hysteresis; the transition point for ascending series was greater than the transition point for descending series. Hysteresis was eliminated in the slowest presentation speed (10 s/plank). In Experiment 2, hysteresis was exaggerated by a cognitive load (counting backward by seven) for both fast and slow presentation speeds. These results suggest that behavioral responses to the attractor dynamics of perceived affordances are processes that require minimal cognitive resources.