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Can Robots Help Children With Autism? (go.com) 52

An anonymous reader writes: Sunday is World Autism Awareness Day, and landmarks around the world will "light it up blue" as a show of support, including New York's Rockefeller Center and the White House. "Autism spectrum disorders affect an estimated one out of every 68 children in America," President Trump posted Friday, and autistic characters have now even been added to the new Power Rangers movie and on Sesame Street.

But technology could also play a role in improving the live of people with autism spectrum disorders. Reuters is reporting on a robot specifically designed to help teach communication and interaction skills to autistic children, while Vanderbilt University has 20 studies exploring more ways that robotics and technology could help, according to Zachary Warren, an associate professor of pediatrics. "A child may not respond to their mother calling their name but may automatically respond to a robot action or a piece of technology," Warren says after one program which showed improvement in five out of six participants. "If we can use that technology to shift how that child responds, then we may have a very valuable system to that child, that family and maybe for autism intervention."

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Can Robots Help Children With Autism?

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  • Not enough sleep. I thought it said something about robot chickens. I have seen some interesting things with tablets and autistic children. It's amazing to see a child that can't communicate suddenly able to comprehend and respond to communication over a tablet. Autism is such a weird thing. I imagine some might do well with robots.

  • Robots are stealing all of our autism jobs!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. Robots can help kids with autism. Robots can help with everything. Robots are fucking awesome!

      Robots have no agenda. They aren't actively competing for our jobs. They aren't stealing anything. They are being perfectly obedient. They are doing everything we tell them to do, and they are doing a kickass job of it.

      The economic impact of robots is not something the robots are doing, it is something the humans who own them are doing. If you have a problem with what those humans are doing, take it up

  • by Anonymous Coward

    okay, I'll copy my comment from last time... https://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1715468&cid=32867162

    I'm autistic, and I can tell you the last thing autistic kids need teaching them how to act neurotypical is a robot mentor.

    The dirty secret of Autism Speaks and just about everything else (such as the developers of these robots) is that they advocate for exhausted parents, annoyed relatives, and the profit motive of Western medicine; they don't do anything for actual autistic people.

    www.autisti

    • The dirty secret of Autism Speaks and just about everything else (such as the developers of these robots) is that they advocate for exhausted parents, annoyed relatives, and the profit motive of Western medicine; they don't do anything for actual autistic people.

      www.autistics.org

      Autism Speaks is interested in having as many people declared autistic as possible.

      The problem I have with the autism spectrum outlook is that what is on the spectrum doesn't remotely look like the same issue. And the people with Asperger's to me are not even what I would call autistic - I call them differently abled. I've worked with a few, friends with them, and am in awe of their powers. I know that sounds odd to many people, but it's true.

  • by snarkasaurus ( 627205 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @04:09PM (#54161235)

    I think the world of Aspergers and other spectrum kids would be vastly improved if people generally would stop trying to get them to "act right." Put away the hammer, stop beating the square peg into the round hole, and things will improve dramatically.

    I'm looking at you, teachers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by murdocj ( 543661 )

      Fine, as long as people with Aspergers don't want to interact with other people or hold down jobs, not a problem.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        There are a range of modes of thought to suit the range of tasks within cooperative human society. The problem stems for capitalistic competition forcing people into jobs they are unsuited to ie like psychopathy and politics or narcissism and law enforcers oh and any jobs for aspergers types involving forced interaction with lots of super annoying extroverts more interested in meetings then solving intricate mental puzzles. Don't worry, just keep bashing harder on that hammer as you drive square pegs into r

      • I once knew a guy definitely on the spectrum who did data entry. I mean 6-8 hours straight. Not sure he even blinked.

  • autistic characters have now even been added to the new Power Rangers movie and on Sesame Street.

    And also Mass Effect: Andromeda.

  • We all love you Steve, but your autism has gotten out of control. Flicking the lights on and off is one thing, but you have starting counting the leaves at 9 in the morning!

  • "Being a robot is great, but we don't have emotions, and sometimes that makes me sad."
  • While we're all joyfully lighting up blue for the improving prospects for autistic kids, it's worth a moment for all the autistic adults - most of whom still have no idea they're any different from the rest of us. And for the lonely few who've worked it out, and are still stuck in a world that expects them to be no different from the rest of us.
  • You might find your brand new robot completely dismantled with its parts neatly organized on top of the desk.

  • Research has suggested that cocaine can help relieve the symptoms of autism and asbergers.

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