Robotic Technology as a tool for Improving Mathematical Skills and Learner Functions among students with Autism
Abstract: Recent studies have demonstrated the use of technology, to empower people with special needs to be more independent and improve their equity and full participation in life. In this study, an intervention program combined robotic technology to improve autistic students' functioning in applied mathematics. Twenty-four students in a special education trainning program and 22 adolescent subjects diagnosed with autism (mean=16) attending a special education school participated in the study. Each intervention program included seven individual sessions, in which subjects experienced the use of integrated robotic technology with tailored mathematics instruction. Mixed methodology has been used in this study. The quantitative part shed light on subjects' attainment at the mathematical level and the qualitative part provided information about the students’ perspectives on improving autistic learners’ academic, communication and social functions and about the use of technology in the teaching context. The results indicated a positive effect for the experimental group, who learned to use robotic technology compared to the control group, who studied using common teaching methods. Qualitative findings suggested a change in the level of self-ability, spatial language, motivation, recruitment of attention resources and interpersonal communication of autistic learners.