A professor of Hong Kong has developed an education curriculum with RPR, which helps children with autism to improve their social skills, as part of an NGO and School Initiative.
It is a program that aims to help people aged between 3 and 18 with autism to become more socio-economic and to resolve conflicts and the problem of bullying. The program is designed for people aged 3 and 18 with autism behaviour.Since its introduction in 2015, more than 1,200 children have used the software, according to Catherine So, associate professor of educational psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“Individuals with autism have low motivation to interact with others, and hypersensitivity to the world around them,” So said. “So we use the social robots to teach them social skills in order to reduce their anxiety.”
The robots engage children to play roles and to interact verbally. Two small robots performing social scenarios on the top of the table help the children to see the difference between suitable and unacceptable behavior such as tantrums or shouting.
Muse Wong, 41, has been in the program for a period of seven months for her five year-old daughter and has improved her social and teaching skills considerably.
“She has started to have some degree of social life”, Wong said.
The kids are encouraged to test their social abilities with a human instructor after interacting with the robots.The program was adopted by more than 20 non-profit groups funded by Hong Kong and Macau government and public schools. The project therefore hopes to help combat 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 said.