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      Robots for use in autism research.

      Annual review of biomedical engineering

      Adolescent, Autistic Disorder, diagnosis, physiopathology, Biomedical Engineering, methods, Biomedical Research, Child, Child Development Disorders, Pervasive, Communication, Equipment Design, Humans, Robotics, Social Behavior, User-Computer Interface

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          Abstract

          Autism spectrum disorders are a group of lifelong disabilities that affect people's ability to communicate and to understand social cues. Research into applying robots as therapy tools has shown that robots seem to improve engagement and elicit novel social behaviors from people (particularly children and teenagers) with autism. Robot therapy for autism has been explored as one of the first application domains in the field of socially assistive robotics (SAR), which aims to develop robots that assist people with special needs through social interactions. In this review, we discuss the past decade's work in SAR systems designed for autism therapy by analyzing robot design decisions, human-robot interactions, and system evaluations. We conclude by discussing challenges and future trends for this young but rapidly developing research area.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders.

           C P Johnson,  S Myers (2007)
          Autism spectrum disorders are not rare; many primary care pediatricians care for several children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatricians play an important role in early recognition of autism spectrum disorders, because they usually are the first point of contact for parents. Parents are now much more aware of the early signs of autism spectrum disorders because of frequent coverage in the media; if their child demonstrates any of the published signs, they will most likely raise their concerns to their child's pediatrician. It is important that pediatricians be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and have a strategy for assessing them systematically. Pediatricians also must be aware of local resources that can assist in making a definitive diagnosis of, and in managing, autism spectrum disorders. The pediatrician must be familiar with developmental, educational, and community resources as well as medical subspecialty clinics. This clinical report is 1 of 2 documents that replace the original American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement and technical report published in 2001. This report addresses background information, including definition, history, epidemiology, diagnostic criteria, early signs, neuropathologic aspects, and etiologic possibilities in autism spectrum disorders. In addition, this report provides an algorithm to help the pediatrician develop a strategy for early identification of children with autism spectrum disorders. The accompanying clinical report addresses the management of children with autism spectrum disorders and follows this report on page 1162 [available at www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/120/5/1162]. Both clinical reports are complemented by the toolkit titled "Autism: Caring for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Resource Toolkit for Clinicians," which contains screening and surveillance tools, practical forms, tables, and parent handouts to assist the pediatrician in the identification, evaluation, and management of autism spectrum disorders in children.
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            Effects of robot-assisted therapy on upper limb recovery after stroke: a systematic review.

            The aim of the study was to present a systematic review of studies that investigate the effects of robot-assisted therapy on motor and functional recovery in patients with stroke. A database of articles published up to October 2006 was compiled using the following Medline key words: cerebral vascular accident, cerebral vascular disorders, stroke, paresis, hemiplegia, upper extremity, arm, and robot. References listed in relevant publications were also screened. Studies that satisfied the following selection criteria were included: (1) patients were diagnosed with cerebral vascular accident; (2) effects of robot-assisted therapy for the upper limb were investigated; (3) the outcome was measured in terms of motor and/or functional recovery of the upper paretic limb; and (4) the study was a randomized clinical trial (RCT). For each outcome measure, the estimated effect size (ES) and the summary effect size (SES) expressed in standard deviation units (SDU) were calculated for motor recovery and functional ability (activities of daily living [ADLs]) using fixed and random effect models. Ten studies, involving 218 patients, were included in the synthesis. Their methodological quality ranged from 4 to 8 on a (maximum) 10-point scale. Meta-analysis showed a nonsignificant heterogeneous SES in terms of upper limb motor recovery. Sensitivity analysis of studies involving only shoulder-elbow robotics subsequently demonstrated a significant homogeneous SES for motor recovery of the upper paretic limb. No significant SES was observed for functional ability (ADL). As a result of marked heterogeneity in studies between distal and proximal arm robotics, no overall significant effect in favor of robot-assisted therapy was found in the present meta-analysis. However, subsequent sensitivity analysis showed a significant improvement in upper limb motor function after stroke for upper arm robotics. No significant improvement was found in ADL function. However, the administered ADL scales in the reviewed studies fail to adequately reflect recovery of the paretic upper limb, whereas valid instruments that measure outcome of dexterity of the paretic arm and hand are mostly absent in selected studies. Future research into the effects of robot-assisted therapy should therefore distinguish between upper and lower robotics arm training and concentrate on kinematical analysis to differentiate between genuine upper limb motor recovery and functional recovery due to compensation strategies by proximal control of the trunk and upper limb.
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              The Clinical Use of Robots for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Critical Review.

              We examined peer-reviewed studies in order to understand the current status of empirically-based evidence on the clinical applications of robots in the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Studies are organized into four broad categories: (a) the response of individuals with ASD to robots or robot-like behavior in comparison to human behavior, (b) the use of robots to elicit behaviors, (c) the use of robots to model, teach, and/or practice a skill, and (d) the use of robots to provide feedback on performance. A critical review of the literature revealed that most of the findings are exploratory and have methodological limitations that make it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the clinical utility of robots. Finally, we outline the research needed to determine the incremental validity of this technique.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                22577778
                10.1146/annurev-bioeng-071811-150036

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