This paper reports on an ongoing project between members of the computer science and special education departments of Bradley University and Murray State University, detailing the robotic platforms developed and investigated as a potential tool to improve social interactions among individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Development of a fourth generation robotic agent is described, which uses economically available robotic platforms (Lego NXT) as Socially Assistive Robotics (SAR), combined with direct instruction pedagogy and social scripts to support an alternative educational approach to teaching social behavior. Specifically, in this fourth generation, changes to the physical design of the robots were made to improve the maintainability, reliability, maneuverability, and aesthetics of the robots. The software architecture was designed for modularity, configurability, and reusability of the software.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
 J. Baio, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries, 2012, vol. 61, no.3.
 American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.
 I. Werry, K. Dautenhahn, B. Ogden, W. Harwin, Can Social Interaction Skills Be Taught by a Social Agent? The Role of a Robotic Mediator in Autism Therapy, Cognitive Technology: Instruments of Mind, vol. 2117 Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2001, pp. 57-74.
 G. Barnhill, Outcomes in adults with Asperger Syndrome. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 2007, vol.22, pp.116-126.
 I. Engstrom, L. Ekstrom, B. Emilsson, Psychosocial functioning in a group of Swedish adults with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, 2003 pp. 99-110.
 B. Hofvander, R. Delorme, P. Chaste, A. Nydn, E. Wentz, O. Sthlberg, et al. Psychiatric and psychosocial problems in adults with normalintelligence autism spectrum disorders. BMC Psychiatry, 2009, pp. 9-35.
 P. Howlin, S. Goode, J. Hutton, M. Rutter, Adult outcome for children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology Psychiatry, 2004, vol. 45, is.2, pp. 212-229
 H. Chiang, I. Wineman, Factors associated with quality of life in individuals with autism spectrum disorders: a review of the literature. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2014, vol.8, pp. 974-986
 S. Greenspan, S. Wieder, Developmental patterns and outcomes in infants and children with disorders in relating and communicating: A chart review of 200 cases of children with autistic spectrum diagnoses. Journal of Developmental and Learning disorders, 1997, vol. 1, pp. 87-141.
 C. Gillberg, Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism. British Journal of Psychiatry, 1998, vol. 172,pp. 200-209.
 F. Volkmar, A. Klin, D.Cohen, Diagnosis and classification of autism and related conditions: Consensus and issues. Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders, vol. 2, 1997, pp.5-40.
 O. Grynszpan, J. Martin, J. Nadel, Exploring the influence of task assignment and output modalities on computerized training for autism. Interaction Studies, 2007, vol. 8(2), pp. 241-266.
 D. Baer, M. Wolf, R. Risley, Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1968, vol.1, pp. 91-97.
 S. Shukla-Mehta, T. Miller, K. Callahan, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Video Instruction on Social and Communication Skills Training for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review of the Literature. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Journal, 2010, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 23-36.
 A. Tartaro, Storytelling with a virtual peer as an intervention for children with autism: assets doctoral consortium. In: The Seventh International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, Baltimore ACM Issue 84, 2006, pp. 42-44.
 A. Tartaro, J. Cassell, Playing with Virtual Peers: Bootstrapping Contingent Discourse in Children with Autism. ICLS’08 Proceedings of the 8th international conference on International conference for the learning sciences - vol. 2, 2008, pp. 382-389.
 J. Trafton, S. Trickett, A. Stitzlein, L. Saner, C.D. Schunn, S.S. Kirschenbaum, The relationship between spatial transformations and iconic gestures. Spatial Cogntion and Computation, 2006, vol. 6(1), pp. 1-29.
 F. Michaud, J.F. Laplante, H. Larouche, A. Duquette, S. Caron, D. Letourneau, P. Masson, Autonomous spherical mobile robot for child development studies. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2005, vol. 35, pp. 471-480.
 B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, R. Boekhorst, and A. Billard, Robotic assistants in therapy and education of children with autism: can a small humanoid robot help encourage social interaction skills? Universal Access in the Information Society, 2005, vol. 4(2), pp. 105-120.
 I. Luthffi, S. Syamimi, Y. Hanafiah, A. Fazah, Z. Nur Ismarrubie, Robot-based Intervention Program for Autistic Children with Humanoid Robot NAO: Initial Response in Stereotyped Behavior. International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors 2012 (IRIS 2012), Procedia Engineering, vol. 41, 2012, pp. 1441-1447.
 B. Huskens, R. Verschuur, J. Gillesen, R. Didden, E. Barakovak, Promoting question-asking in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorders: Effectiveness of a robot intervention compared to a human-trainer intervention, Developmental Neurorehabilitation, pp. 1-12, 2012.
 C. Nikolopoulos, D. Kuester, M. Sheehan, S. Dhanya, Investigation on Requirements of Robotic Platforms to Teach Social Skills to Individuals with Autism, vol. 59 Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 2011, pp. 65-73.
 C. Nikolopoulos, D. Kuester, M. Sheehan, D. Sneeha,W. Herring, A. Becker, L. Bogart, Socially assistive robots and autism, Journal of Solid State Phenomena, 2010 , vol. 166-167, pp. 315-320.
 C. Nikolopoulos, D. Kuester, M. Sheehan, S. Ramteke, A. Karmarkar, S. Thota, J. Kearney, C. Boirum, S. Bojedla, A. Lee, Robotic Agents used to Help Teach Social Skills to Children with Autism: The Third Generation. In proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Atlanta, 2011, pp. 253-258.
 K. Dautenhahn, Robots as social actors: Aurora and the case of autism, in: Proceedings of the Third Cognitive Technology Conference, San Francisco, vol. 359, 1999.
 D. Feil-Seifer, M. Matari, Defining socially assistive robotics. In proceedings of the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, 2005, pp.465-468.
 D. Feil-Seifer, M. Matari, Towards the integration of socially assistive robots into the lives of children with ASD, International Conference on Human- Robot Interaction Workshop on Societal Impact: How Socially Accepted Robots Can be Integrated in our Society, 2009.
 H. Kozima, C. Nakagawa, Y. Yasuda, Interactive robots for Communications-care: a case study in autism therapy; in IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (ROMAN), 2005, pp. 341-346.
 H. Kozima, C. Nakagawa, Y. Yasuda, Childrenrobot interaction: A pilot study in autism therapy. Prog Brain Res, 2007, vol. 164, pp. 385-407.
 C. Lathan, K. Boser, C. Safos, C., Frentz, K.Powers, Using cosmo’s learning system (CLS) with children with autism. In proceedings of the International Conference on Technology-Based Learning with Disabilities, Dayton, 2007, pp. 37-47.
 A. Tapus, J. Fasola, M. Matari, Socially assistive robots for individuals suffering from dementia. In: ACM/IEEE 3rd Human-Robot Interaction International Conference, Workshop on Robotic Helpers: User Interaction, Interfaces and Companions in Assistive and therapy Robotics, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2008.
 B. Scassellati, H. Admoni, M. Mataric, Robots for Use in Autism Research, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 2012, vol. 14, pp. 275-94.
 A. Solish, A. Perry, P. Minnes, Participation of children with and without disabilities in social, recreational and leisure activities, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 2010, vol. 23, pp. 226-236.
 M. Tennyson, D. Kuester, C. Nikolopoulos, Robotic agents used to help teach social skills to individuals with autism: The fourth generation, IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, Orlando, 2014, pp. 42-48.