Aims and objectives
The purpose of this project is to develop and practically use intervention protocol through use of humanoid robot and complementary Apps for personal mobile device as a novel intervention tool for children with autism. Communication deficits, as one of the core deficits in children with autism, are also present in communication between the child and his therapist. There are promising results in the use of robots in supporting the social and emotional development of children with autism
Using robots as social mediators to engage children in tasks, allows for a simplified, predictable and reliable environment e. g. having predictable rules has been shown to be important in promoting prosocial behaviors. This is a study of feasibility and proof of concept, in using a robot in conjunction with Apps for a personal mobile devices as a novel intervention tool for children with autism.
Taking into consideration that the provision of support for people with disabilities is one of the core principles of the Erasmus+ Program, we are pointing out the Open and innovative practices, in a digital era horizontal priority as the most relevant with regards to the objectives of our project. Through developing ICT related tools (use of socially assisted robot in conjunction with Apps for personal mobile devices), this project is directly supporting the effective use of Information and Communication Technologies in education.
The project connects higher education partners specialized in the fields of working with children with disabilities and provision of ICT technologies. This creative partnership is forged with an aim of introducing novel creative method for improvement of learning performances of children with autism and strengthening the role of the higher education institutions as pioneers with regards to the innovation. The connection of experts and researchers from two seemingly distant research areas: specialists in mental health and ICT experts, and the participants, that include children with autism, their families and their therapists, makes the project interdisciplinary. The gained knowledge is expected to give new insights in the treatment and education of the children with autism.
However, the results will have greater impact: they will be applicable on-sight, in the institutions that deal with the mental healthcare of the children with autism included in the project, but the gained knowledge can and should be used in the wider community, such as the schools, NGO’s and other institutions on the local and regional level that deal with the wellbeing of the children with autism. The students of the higher education institutions involved in this project will also be included in training about the challenges of the everyday living of children with autism and their families. Since the project requires interdisciplinary collaboration between higher education partners that work as mental health professionals on one hand and ICT professionals on the other hand, it will enable the students to change their usual perspective and become more socially responsible and open for innovative approaches that will add value back to the education, research and society. This will also encourage them to create and develop technologies for increasing the quality of life of people in need, and in this particular case, the children with autism.
The objectives of our project are matching the Social Inclusion horizontal priority with regards to supporting the actions for improvement of learning performances of disadvantaged learners (testing of a novel approach for improvement of learning performances of children with autism).