Robots as Assistive Technology Tools to Enhance Cognitive Abilities and Foster Valuable Learning Experiences among Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Noreen I. Arshad, A. Sobri Hashim, Mazeyanti M. Ariffin, Nurshazlyn M. Aszemi, Low H. Min, Azah A. Norman
2020 IEEE Access  
This study examines the efficacy of robots as assistive technology (AT) learning tools for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study attempts to find answers to whether robots as assistive tools can (i) profoundly improve achievement in learning and (ii) provide valuable learning experiences among this group of children. Using LEGO Mindstorms EV3, a robot was built and programmed to teach the basic concept of place value in mathematics. Eight children with ASD, specifically, four
more » ... emales and four males, participated in the single case study, and six special education teachers took part in the interviews. The children participated in both traditional and robotic intervention lessons and were assessed at the end of each session. The results indicate a positive increase in content knowledge and an improved disposition toward learning, thus demonstrating the potential utilization of robots as AT tools for harnessing classroom learning. Data from the interviews with teachers highlighted four valuable learning experiences that occurred in the classrooms as a result of the robotic interventions; namely, with respect to young children with ASD, the AT (1) promoted interest and engagement, (2) increased attention and focus, (3) triggered interactions and communication, and (4) created a happy and fun learning environment. INDEX TERMS Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), assistive technology (AT), cognitive abilities, LEGO Mindstorms EV3, learning experience, robot.
doi:10.1109/access.2020.3001629 fatcat:m4u6hi45irg6xh5qyjprhzhc4u