Notre Dame researchers make headway with robotic autism treatment

robotNotre Dame is leading the way with some innovative autism research using robotics.

In therapy sessions with children with autism, Diehl focuses on breaking down those individual behaviors and teaching communication piece by piece.

One method is through the use of “Nao,” a robot that is programmed to simplify various communication behaviors like gestures and facial expressions, and teach children with autism how to use and understand them.

“The most important part of social interaction is understanding what’s being said and being able to be understood,” Diehl explains.

“If we can bridge this social gap, it will open up so many doors for children with autism and help them in all aspects of their lives.”

Most current research studies are focused on early intervention, but there still is a need for intervention for older children with autism.