Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

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    • New research has found that non-humanoid robots can be used to teach children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

    About 

    • ASD is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain; 
    • People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. 
    • Key Findings: 
      • The interventions focused on ASD children’s communication and gross motor skills. 
      • Three studies are detailed: 
        • A toy robot called Cozmo assists special educators in verbal lessons on school premises; 
        • A mini drone Tello helps especial educators in exercise lessons, again on school premises; and 
        • Cozmo, special educators and ASD children connect remotely for verbal lessons. 
      • The researchers measured and compared learning outcomes with these interventions and without them.
      • All three studies showed improvement in learning outcomes and reduction in prompts from the Ses (special educators), denoting reduced workload.
    • Autism spectrum disorder begins in early childhood and eventually causes problems functioning in society — socially, in school and at work, for example. 
    • Often children show symptoms of autism within the first year. 
    • A small number of children appear to develop normally in the first year and then go through a period of regression between 18 and 24 months of age when they develop autism symptoms.
    • Causes: Autism spectrum disorder has no single known cause. Given the complexity of the disorder and the fact that symptoms and severity vary, there are probably many causes. Both genetics and environment may play a role.
      • Genetics: Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For other children, genetic changes (mutations) may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder. Still other genes may affect brain development or the way that brain cells communicate, or they may determine the severity of symptoms. Some genetic mutations seem to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously.
      • Environmental factors: Researchers are currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder. 

    Source: IE