What does the literature say about using robots on children with disabilities? Academic Article


  • Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the extent and type of robots used for the rehabilitation and education of children and young people with CP and ASD and the associated outcomes. Methods: The scholarly literature was systematically searched and analyzed. Articles were included if they reported the results of robots used or intended to be used for the rehabilitation and education of children and young people with CP and ASD during play and educative and social interaction activities. Results: We found 15 robotic systems reported in 34 studies that provided a low level of evidence. The outcomes were mainly for children with ASD interaction and who had a reduction in autistic behaviour, and for CP cognitive development, learning, and play. Conclusion: More research is needed in this area using designs that provide higher validity. A centred design approach is needed for developing new low-cost robots for this population. Implications for rehabilitation In spite of the potential of robots to promote development in children with ASD and CP, the limited available evidence requires researchers to conduct studies with higher validity. The low level of evidence plus the need for specialized technical support should be considered critical factors before making the decision to purchase robots for use in treatment for children with CP and ASD. A user-entered design approach would increase the chances of success for robots to improve functional, learning, and educative outcomes in children with ASD and CP. We recommend that developers use this approach. The participation of interdisciplinary teams in the design, development, and implementation of new robotic systems is of extra value. We recommend the design and development of low-cost robotic systems to make robots more affordable.

publication date

  • 2017-1-10


  • 12


  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Costs
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Decision Making
  • Disabled Children
  • Education
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Learning
  • Patient rehabilitation
  • Population
  • Rehabilitation
  • Research Personnel
  • Robotics
  • Robots
  • Therapeutics

number of pages

  • 12

start page

  • 429

end page

  • 440