Social robots have been increasingly involved in our daily lives and provide a new environment for children’s growth. They can make a world of difference for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by social interaction and communication deficits and the presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. Children and adults with ASD often have difficulty in responding to social overtures, recognizing the emotional states of others from visual or auditory cues, and understanding the importance of gaze as a social cue. Therapies are diverse, but are typically time, resource, and labor-intensive, and can put substantial strain on families and caregivers.
Technology-based interventions, and robotics in particular, for ASD, have been seen as a potential approach for augmenting the efforts of families and clinicians to provide on-demand, personalized, social skills training.
How Buddy Helps
Since 2015, Blue Frog Robotics has created a series of Buddy robots that help children with autism develop essential social skills, working with educators and experts and creating a curriculum based on proven therapy methods. This includes an individualized education program or treatment plan that collects data and monitor progress.
My previous feedback from other robots had been disappointing because the manufacturers were only focused to design ‘reinforcers,’ i.e. toys or entertaining objects. Unlike these other robots, BUDDY brings a real added value because it was designed as a working tool that can offer interactive, playful and educational activities… BUDDY has the potential to be useful in specialized structures but also at home. Bertrand Jacques President of Autism Foundation
Buddy, as a socially assistive robot, constructs systems that support social and cognitive growth by using social rather than physical means. For many kids with autism, looking at human faces is incredibly uncomfortable, there’s a social anxiety piece there. Thanks to his facially expressive face and fun personality, he becomes interesting and approachable for learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that easily engage with him, allowing them to learn in a more discrete way.
Children with autism are very naturally prone to loving technology and interacting easily with Buddy. Furthermore, kids with autism love predictability; that kind of repetition and consistency is really important to the way that children with autism learn. Buddy can deliver messages and lessons in the same way again and again and again. Through storytelling, role-playing, scenarios, and games, children are able to learn social interaction skills such as reading feelings and communication. The goal is to get the children to step out of their comfort zone without fear of exposing themselves to a stranger; the experience of engaging with a robot, which responds and reacts, gives them the motivation not to disappoint the companion robot, unlike an inanimate object such as a computer or tablet.
Alleviate Economic Costs
Statistics indicate an increase in the number of kids with autism in the world. In the United State about 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. The total costs per year for children with ASD in the United States were estimated to be between $11.5 billion – $60.9 billion (2011 US dollars). This significant economic burden represents a variety of direct and indirect costs, from medical care to special education to lost parental productivity. The high cost of therapy is an important problem, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year. And there’s a limited number of professionals with the expertise to be able to deliver these services with the kind of breadth and depth needed.
One of the most significant barriers to the education and care of children with autism is the substantial economic burden associated with ASD measured across multiple sectors of our society. Blue Frog Robotics and its partners are dedicated to providing companion robots that meet the needs of all children in terms of good education for self-confidence improvement and faster progress. With an affordable price and customized interactive learning capabilities for teaching children with autism, Buddy offers new and more affordable resources of handling and treat patients.
We are excited to start collaborating with Blue Frog Robotics. Buddy offers innovative social robot solutions for use in autism therapy, pediatric hospitals, language learning, STEM & classrooms, at an affordable price” Mike Radice, Robotteca
“Better Care, Care Fully” is our motto to continuously develop smart robots with a smile, that have a positive impact on the society and families that suffer greatly, whether on the finance or social side.