An interdisciplinary team of CHIP researchers, including kinesiologists and psychologists, has a federal grant to study the impact of using robots as intervention tools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The team’s preliminary research in this area shows that children with and without autism respond well to robot interactions, such as playing imitation games. The project’s robot-child interactions will provide a novel approach for helping children with autism simultaneously improve gross and fine motor skills as well as social communication skills.
During FY11, a new grant in this area was received to develop novel tools for early identification of motor, social, and cognitive deficits of ASD within the first six months of life. The goals of the study are to identify reliable behavioral markers for early diagnosis of ASD and to indicate that early detection of ASD is possible between three and six months of age through fine motor and visual attention markers.