Autism Robotic Theater: a technological tool to contribute to the social interaction of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder

Johanna Belen Tobar, Alan Prócel, David Loza, Eduardo Caicedo, Bladimir Bacca


According to the World Health Organization, 0.62% of the world’s population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is equivalent to 1 in 160 children. People with ASD have difficulties in communicative behaviors and social interaction. The assistance requirements to improve these deficits are complex. This research´s primary objective is to propose and implement a robotic theater called ART (Autism Robotic Theater) as a technological assistance tool to contribute to increase social interaction in children diagnosed with ASD. This robotic theater is based on a set of homogeneous humanoid robots performing gestures and actions. ART is formed by 3 NAO robots, a curtain, a narrator, and a software program that allows creating scripts easily and intuitively, to later interpret them. ART was presented in different sessions, to a group of children with ASD under two scenarios. The first scenario aims to encourage the interest and interaction of children with the tool. The second scenario uses the tool to develop a play where robots and children participate, encouraging interaction between them. From the results of an initial and a final evaluation of the children’s performance stands out an increase of 43.75% in the children’s imitation level and, increase of 39.58% in the children’s response and interaction with the robots. Despite the short evaluation time due to the pandemic, the results of the proposed structure have been favorable in the execution of the play in parallel with homogeneous robots and, the impact that the two scenarios have presented in children with TEA.


Autism Spectrum Disorder; Technological Assistance Tool; Social Interaction; Gestures; Human-Robot Interaction

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Copyright (c) 2021 Johanna Belen Tobar, Alan Prócel, David Loza, Eduardo Caicedo, Bladimir Bacca

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ISSN: 2303-4521

Digital Object Identifier DOI: 10.21533/pen

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License