The outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) has resulted in a significant disruption of almost all aspects of everyday life. Several governments around the world have adopted emergency actions to reduce spreading of the virus, which included suspension of non-essential activities and the implementation of social distancing practices. In our case, governmental measures have resulted in the suspension of our experimental protocol for testing the effectiveness of robot-based treatment of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared to conventional human (therapist)-based treatment. These circumstances led to an investigation of the potential of tele-consulting. This paper describes alternatives to implement synchronous and asynchronous therapeutic sessions for children already participating in the protocol, in order to reduce the negative effects of the strict cessation of the in-person sessions. The usefulness of our approach was assessed by recording the children’s and the parent’s satisfaction via questionnaires. In addition, we compare satisfaction between the synchronous and asynchronous sessions. The results show that the approach has been very satisfactory and useful for both children and parents, and that this was especially the case for the robot-based material.
Lytridis C, Bazinas C, Sidiropoulos G, Papakostas GA, Kaburlasos VG, Nikopoulou V-A, Holeva V, Evangeliou A. Distance Special Education Delivery by Social Robots. Electronics. 2020; 9(6):1034.