Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect on the syntactic skills of children with autism spectrum disorders when using an educational humanoid robot for a story intervention. Methods: The subjects were 3 children with autism spectrum disorders. They were the same chronological age and same grade in special education school. An experimental, multi probe design was used across subjects. A story intervention program was loaded into the humanoid robot, called 'IROBI-Q'. The robot offered visual-auditory stimulation. Results: First, story intervention using the humanoid robot partially improved the children's syntactic skills. The length of story (mean C-unit) and use of different cohesive units increased, but the intervention was not effective in improving complex sentence ratio and mean syntactic length (mean morphemes in C-unit). Second, syntactic skills in narrative were generalized as demonstrated by other stimulations and another story assessment. The assessment was implemented before and after intervention. The children increased their length of story, mean morphemes in C-unit, and number of different cohesive devices except for the complex sentence ratio. Third, syntactic skills were maintained by the children. Conclusion: The results show a partially effective increase in the syntactic skills of children with autism spectrum disorders. These findings imply the feasibility of a humanoid robot as a language intervention tool.
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Human robot interaction (HRI)
- Humanoid robot
- Story intervention
- Syntactic skills