(1) Background: There has been significant recent interest in the potential role of social robots (SRs) in special education. Specific Learning Disorders (SpLDs) have a high prevalence in the student population, and early intervention with personalized special educational programs is crucial for optimal academic achievement. (2) Methods: We designed an intense special education intervention for children in the third and fourth years of elementary school with a diagnosis of a SpLD. Following confirmation of eligibility and informed consent, the participants were prospectively and randomly allocated to two groups: (a) the SR group, for which the intervention was delivered by the humanoid robot NAO with the assistance of a special education teacher and (b) the control group, for which the intervention was delivered by the special educator. All participants underwent pre- and post-intervention evaluation for outcome measures. (3) Results: 40 children (NAO = 19, control = 21, similar baseline characteristics) were included. Pre- and post-intervention evaluation showed comparable improvements in both groups in cognition skills (decoding, phonological awareness and reading comprehension), while between-group changes favored the NAO group only for some phonological awareness exercises. In total, no significant changes were found in any of the groups regarding the emotional/behavioral secondary outcomes. (4) Conclusion: NAO was efficient as a tutor for a human-supported intervention when compared to the gold-standard intervention for elementary school students with SpLDs.
M. T. Papadopoulou, E. Karageorgiou, P. Kechayas, N. Geronikola, C. Lytridis, C. Bazinas, E. Kourampa, E. Avramidou, V. G. Kaburlasos, A. E. Evangeliou, “Efficacy of a Robot-Assisted Intervention in Improving Learning Performance of Elementary School Children with Specific Learning Disorders”, Children, vol. 9, iss. 8, 1155.
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