Hong Kong robots help autistic children boost social skills

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A Hong Kong professor has developed an academic programme utilizing role-playing robots to help children with autism enhance their social skills, a part of an initiative adopted by non-profit teams and colleges.

The programme, Robot for Autism Behavioral Intervention (RABI), is designed for folks with autism between the ages of three and 18, and goals to help them be extra social and to resolve points equivalent to conflicts and bullying.

Catherine So, affiliate professor of academic psychology on the Chinese University of Hong Kong, informed Reuters greater than 1,200 children have used the programme since its 2015 launch.

“Individuals with autism have low motivation to interact with others, and hypersensitivity to the world around them,” So mentioned. “So we use the social robots to teach them social skills in order to reduce their anxiety.”

The robots have interaction the children with role-playing and verbal interplay. A typical class includes two small robots performing out social situations on a desk high, serving to the children see the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour equivalent to tantrums or screaming.

Muse Wong, 41, mentioned her 5-year-old daughter has been within the programme for seven months and her social and communicative skills have improved vastly.

“She has started to have some degree of social life”, Wong mentioned.

After interacting with the robots, the children are inspired to check out their social skills with a human tutor.

More than 20 non-profit teams financed by governments and public colleges in Hong Kong and Macau have adopted the programme. So hopes the mission will help battle towards exclusion.

“We believe RABI can help children with autism improve their social and behavioural skills, and in turn enhance the quality of their life”, she mentioned.

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