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Theses Bachelor's

Synthesizing and restructuring the conversation around the use of robots in the education and therapy of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Wood, Zoe

A conversation about the use of robots as tools in public schools’ special needs classrooms necessarily implicates a variety of disciplines. As such, this paper will draw upon: (1) academic literature from the fields of robotics, education, and psychology specifically devoted to the development of robots for use in the education of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, (2) academic literature from the fields of robotics, education, and psychology specifically devoted to testing the effectiveness of these robots, (3) legal writings concerning the education of differently abled individuals, specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, (4) broad discussion of education technology, drawing from academic publications in the field of education as well as newspaper articles and blog posts, and (5) original interviews with clinicians, educators, and robotics industry professionals.

This paper is organized into four parts. The first will trace the development of robots in the education of individuals with ASD within the academic sphere. The second will do the same within the realm of industry. Together, these sections will demonstrate the fact that disparate strands of research largely distinct from the clinical or educational fields have dictated the development of this robotic technology. A third section will briefly but necessarily explain that robots are viable in the public education system from a legal perspective. Finally, a fourth section will bring together expert voices from the clinical, educational, and industrial fields to explain how and why educational and clinical experts should lead the conversation about the use of educational robots in ASD therapy and education.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Thesis Advisors
Plunkett, Leah
Bellovin, Steven Michael
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 11, 2018
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