Dogs, robots and Aspies

I have this vague recollection of hearing that pets, and especially dogs, can help develop children’s social skills. If the pet is something stroke-able it also helps to soothe children and adults. Today I read that robots have also been found to help children with autism learn and develop.

The robots model good behaviour and, because autistic people feel more comfortable with technology than with other humans, they’re easier for the children to interact with and learn from. As someone who has wanted an Asimo from the moment I first saw one I imagine this must be a wonderful thing for children on the autism spectrum.

I go though phases of thinking it would be nice to get a dog but I always decide I don’t want one. A robot on the other hand… what’s not to love? Next to Asimo my favourite is the cycling robot. I love the way it puts its feet down and then struggles to balance as it starts cycling, just like a person.

One day I hope Asimo-style robots will be cheap and prolific enough to be used in hospitals and to help provide companionship to old people who struggle to get out. I also hope there will be more in schools, because these are extremely difficult to deal with for children who have autism.

You can read the full article here.


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