Research Class: Crossing bridges of understanding – Robot assistive therapy for children with autism

Datum održavanja: četvrtak, 17.5.2018. u 9:00 sati, prostorija O-357
Predavač: dr. sc. Nevena Ackovska, Makedonija
Naziv predavanja: Crossing bridges of understanding – Robot assistive therapy for children with autism

Assistive technology is making today’s rehabilitation more available and more accessible than ever. It enables the improvement of the quality of life for physically and mentally impaired people.
Developing treatments for people with cognitive impairments is an especially difficult task, due to the fact that cognitive disorders manifest differently from one group of people to another. One such specific group are children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This target group is challenging in two levels. First challenge is the ASD condition, which affects normal socio-emotional development in early childhood and causes difficulties with social interactions and learning. Second challenge are the childrenwithautismthemselves. They never stop amazing us with their ability to learn, no matter whether they are considered to be “normal” or have some “impairments”.
One kind of treatment that has proven itself as particularly effective for young ASD children is robot assisted therapy (RoAT), which involves a robotic element. Such examples are specific robotic toys, robotic platforms, humanoid robots, with the purpose of making the learning process easier for these children. This talk elaborates on several different approaches for implementing robots in autism therapy, gives an overview of several RoAT studies done in the world, and especially presents our work done in implementing a Nao humanoid robot in a research experiment with children with ASD.
Nevena Ackovska is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at “Sts. Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje, Macedonia. She holds B.Sc. (2000) in Computer Engineering, Informatics and Automation at Electrical Engineering Faculty and M. Sc. (2003) and a Ph.D. (2008) in the field of Intelligent Systems from Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at “Sts. Cyril and Methodius University” in Skopje, Macedonia.

Her research interest is in the areas of intelligent systems, robotics and human – machine interaction. Ms. Ackovska is IEEE Senior Member.