Caitlin Lillis 5/9/13
Biology Current Event
According to a recent study, autistic children who attended therapy with a robot had better social skills, than without having the robot there. This study was directed toward 19 children that were diagnosed with autism. Within this study, a humanoid robot was used, and this robot happens to be specifically designed for use in education, and also special education. With its short height of about 2 feet, this robot almost appears as if it is a toy. The way the experiment worked is that children from ages 6 to 13 participated in twelve behavioral therapy sessions. Social skills were tested with the child asking the robot named Kelly, questions such as, “HI Kelly, how are you?'" Diehl explained. "Then Kelly would say, 'Fine. What did you do today?” When Kelly the robot was not being used the therapist would ask similar questions. Both the scientists and the parents of these autistic children concluded that the children had a better session on developing their social skills with the robot rather than the session with the therapist. Although, these results from this experiment were small, and because of this, researchers are not sure how this study will apply to the real world and how it will be used in therapist’s offices. With the modern technology that our world is learning to adapt to, scientists hope that with this new advanced technology we can help some of these children tackle their social skills.
The information proven from this research, affects humanity because it is a new step in which both families of autistic children, therapists, and scientists can partake in actively when it comes to an autistic child’s social skills. Even though robots are not currently being used in therapists offices, this is a valuable piece of research on autistic children, because it open the doors for many autistic patients both children and adults, so they can find new ways to improve on their social skills. It was mentioned later on in the article that more research had been conducted on an ipad and other pieces of technology, and scientists have concluded similar results to Kelly the robot. Having social skills is something that everyone in the world should share; autistic or not, and if something as simple as a piece of technology will allow for that to happen, further research on this topic will be conducted. Although I have no one in my family who has autism, I can relate to the many people who have an autistic child. I find that if something as simple as a piece of technology can improve on one’s social skills, than it is our responsibility to provide people with autism this piece of technology so they can have a better quality of life.
This article went into great depth on this study, and has provided hope for many people that one day robots could be used in actual therapy sessions. One thing that I disliked about this article is that the writer only mentioned one other use of technology that has conducted similar research. I feel that perhaps the writer could have compared the two results from the different studies rather than just focusing on the new research that had been found from Kelly the Robot. Overall this article was well written, and definitely gave me hope as a reader that one day in the future robots will be used in an actual therapy session.
Norton, Amy. "Kelly the Robot Helps Kids Tackle Autism – WebMD." WebMD - Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20130501/kelly-the-robot-helps-kids-tackle-autism?page=2&print=true>.