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Robots have been used in joint attention (JA) tasks with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, very few studies compared JA performance of children with ASD with typically developing children (TD) when interacting with a robotic partner and a traditional human partner. This study aims to: (a) to explore whether there are differences in response to and initiation of JA between ASD and TD children with two interactive partners: an adult and a social robot (NAO); and (b) to explore which characteristics of ASD children predicting their performance in robot-assisted JA tasks. Twenty-seven ASD and forty TD children were involved in this study in which they were exposed to diffident JA tasks. Mixed results were found per type of JA behavior over groups and conditions. Our results show that both ASD and TD children performed better with the human partner than with the robot in response to JA tasks. Among the characteristics of ASD children, ADOS total score is associated with response to JA performance. No significant result related to initiation of JA was found.
- robot-assisted therapy
- joint attention
- autism spectrum disorder
- typically developing children
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