Universidad de Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 3750-3758
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0972
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
In last two decades, the worldwide number of cases of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosed have increased drastically. ASD is a developmental disorder characterized by impairments in communication and social interactions and repetitive behaviour. These impairments can be translated into difficulties of attention and executive learning, general cognition or oral language, academic skills and social skills. Specifically, social skills include social imitation, social interaction rules, emotion production and recognition. All of this makes that they perceive reality in a different way and, therefore, inclusion into society for students with ASD is complicated by these difficulties. The teaching of social skills for these students continues to be a challenge. Nevertheless, during the last decade irruption of Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) has provided many new options for the educative intervention of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Three main categories involve ITC-based interventions which are: iPods and iPads Apps, serious games and robots. In this way, among these types of ICT, a growing intervention method based on Social Assistance Robots (SAR) is being developed. The main characteristics of SAR include that can express and/or perceive emotions, can establish verbal and non-verbal communications and they can learn social skills. In this sense, one of the biggest advantages is based on their capacity to programme to respond to different social situations. Robotic assisted therapy not only perfectly aligns with the methodological principles that should guide the teaching-learning process of these students (individualized intervention, sequence of activities, active experiences and predictive environments), but also with the educational needs of these students. This rapid advance in robotics, its good results, the complexity of the educational need and the increase in cases of ASD, make it necessary to include this type of intervention in educational contexts. Many recent researches have shown positive outcomes of robots as social mediators to improve social and communication skills. In this way, robotics is constituted as a new path of educational intervention. Nevertheless, the possibility of using robots in educational contexts is limited due to its high costs and the lack of availability that is normally limited to the clinical and private environment. To overcome these aspects, this study uses the robot Bee-Bot which unites its low cost, its ease and its versatility of use. The main aim of this research has been to study how the use of the Bee-Bot robot can facilitate emotion recognition and production in ASD students. Specifically, this research has focused in the work of two emotions: happiness and sadness. By conducting an exploratory study involving two children whose age range is 5-6 years, results provided some indicators that children with ASD have a great affinity with robots. Moreover, the findings of this study contribute to the literature on the impact of robots on the learning of social skills.
Austism Spectrum Disorder, robotics, Bee-bot, emotions.