Personalized Robot Interventions for Autistic Children: An Automated Methodology for Attention Assessment

Fady Alnajjar, Massimiliano Cappuccio, Abdulrahman Renawi, Omar Mubin, Chu Kiong Loo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a robot-mediated therapy and assessment system for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of mild to moderate severity and minimal verbal capabilities. The objectives of the robot interaction sessions is to improve the academic capabilities of ASD patients by increasing the length and the quality of their attention. The system uses a NAO robot and an added mobile display to present emotional cues and solicit appropriate emotional responses. The interaction is semi-autonomous with minimal human intervention.Interaction occurs within an adaptive dynamic scenario composed of 13 sections. The scenario allows adaptive customization based on the attention score history of each patient. The attention score is autonomously generated by the system and depends on face attention and joint attention cues and sound responses. The scoring system allows us to prove that the customized interaction system increases the engagement and attention capabilities of ASD patients.After performing a pilot study, involving 6 ASD children, out of a total of 11 considered in the clinical setup, we conducted a long-term study. This study empirically proves that the proposed assessment system represents the attention state of the patient with 82.4% accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Assessment
  • Attention
  • Autism
  • Robotics
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Philosophy
  • Social Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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