Social robots in the instruction of social skills in autism: a comprehensive descriptive analysis of single-case experimental designs

Dogan S., ÇOLAK A.

DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION-ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, vol.19, no.2, pp.325-344, 2024 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17483107.2022.2087772
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.325-344
  • Keywords: Robot, social robots, autism spectrum disorders, social skills, human-robot interaction, SPECTRUM DISORDERS, HUMANOID ROBOT, CHILDREN, INDIVIDUALS, INTERVENTIONS, BEHAVIOR, GAMES
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose The rapid technological advances, the traits of individuals with ASD and their interest in technology are promising for the instruction of social skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using various technological interventions. Robotic interventions are among these. However, although robotics is frequently used with individuals with ASD, there is a limited number of reviews on social skills instruction and methods. The present study aimed to conduct a comprehensive descriptive analysis on single-case experimental designs where social skills were instructed to individuals with ASD and social robots were included as independent variables. Materials and methods Thirteen single-case experimental designs published in peer-reviewed journals in which social skills were taught to individuals with ASD using social robots were reviewed with a comprehensive descriptive analysis based on five categories: (a) key characteristics, (b) methodological characteristics, (c) findings, (d) data analysis, and (e) key parameters in single-case experimental designs. Results Social robots are generally effective in the instruction of social skills. Several social skills (e.g., making eye contact, social interaction, simple greetings) were instructed in the studies. Humanoid robots and NAO were used generally. The study data were predominantly analyzed statistically. There were several problems in research based on the basic parameters in single-case experimental designs. Conclusions The researches in this study differ in several respects (e.g., results, data analysis, and dependent variable). Thus, there is still a need for several robotics studies in the instruction of social skills.