Cristina A. Costescu, Bram Vanderborght, Daniel O. David
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Background Children with autism have considerable difficulties in identifying and conceptualizing thoughts and feelings, which affect their ability to manage emotions (Sofronoff, et al., 2007). Objectives By using robot-enhanced therapy (RET) we have tried to: improve the strategies they use in different social situations; modify irrational beliefs (based on Albert Ellis’ REBT/CBT model); teach them adaptive behaviors in social situations associated with anger and sadness and to reduce the intensity of negative emotions. Method 27 children with a primary diagnosis primary diagnosis of ASD, aged 6 – 12 years, were randomly assigned to either RET (12 children) or treatment as usual (TAU) group (15 children). Children in the RET group participated in six 2-h weekly group sessions. Results Children with ASD from RET group showed statistically significant more rational beliefs and they had a lower level of emotional responses intensity, after treatment compared with TAU group. We did not found any significant differences between the two groups regarding: social knowledge and adaptive behaviors. Our findings showed also important gains from pre- to post-treatment for children with ASD that participated in the RET group. Conclusion Our results may have important clinical implications for improving standard CBT for reducing emotional distress in children with ASD.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorders, robot-enhanced therapy, dysfunctional emotions, social situations
Published online: 2017/09/01
Published print: 2017/09/01
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