Regulating emotions can be particularly challenging for children with autism, impacting their social interactions and general well-being. Recent advances in robotics offer promising tools to support these children in managing their emotions effectively. This article explores how robotic systems can assist children with autism in developing emotion regulation skills through interactive, personalised and consistent support.

Training in Social Skills

One of the primary ways robots assist autistic children is through training in social skills. Interactive robots, designed with social interaction capabilities, engage children in exercises that teach them to recognise and respond to emotions. These robots simulate social scenarios and provide real-time feedback, helping children practice and develop their social skills in a controlled and supportive environment.

Emotional Recognition

Robots equipped with facial recognition technology can help children identify and understand different emotional expressions. By interacting with these robots, children learn to associate a facial sign with specific emotions and enhance their ability to recognise emotions in others. This ability is crucial for improving social interactions and fostering better relationships.

Behavioral Interventions 

The consistent and predictable responses of robots can be particularly beneficial for children with autism. Unlike human interactions, robots offer a stable interaction model, which can be variable and sometimes confused. This consistency helps children learn appropriate emotional responses and self-regulation techniques, which provide a solid foundation for their emotional development.

Therapeutic Support

Robots can deliver personalised therapeutic interventions tailored to each child’s needs. For example, a robot can guide the child through relaxation exercises or mindfulness techniques when experiencing anxiety or frustration. These personalised interventions help children learn to manage their emotions more effectively.

Safe and Non-Judicial Interaction

Robots provide a safe and non-judgemental platform for children to express their emotions and practice self-regulation. Lack of social pressure makes it easier for children to engage and experiment with different emotional responses. This safe space is crucial to build confidence and encourage emotional exploration.

Gamified Learning

Turning emotion regulation exercises into fun and engaging games can motivate children to participate. Robots can modify these exercises, making them enjoyable while also being educational. This approach helps children practice emotional regulation skills in a positive and demanding way.

Real-time monitoring and Feedback

Sensor robots can monitor physiological signs such as heart rate, skin conduction, and facial expressions. By analysing these signals, robots provide real-time feedback and support and help children manage their emotions more effectively. This immediate response can be critical in teaching children how to recognise and control their emotional states.

Involvement of Parents and Therapists

Robots can collect data on children’s emotional responses and behavior over time. This information is valuable for parents and therapists, who can use it to understand the child’s progress and design interventions more effectively. Integrating robotics in therapeutic environments improves the overall child support system.

Examples of Robotic Systems in Use

  1. Robot NAO: The NAO robot is a human body-like robot used in various studies to help autistic children with social skills and emotion recognition. Engage in interactive activities, telling stories, and playing games that teach emotional regulation strategies.
  2. Kaspar Robot: Kaspar is a robot that resembles the human body as much as a child designed specifically for children with autism. It interacts through facial expressions, gestures, and speech. It helps children learn social indications and emotional responses in a structured way.
  3. Jibo: Jibo is a social robot that helps with social and emotional learning. It recognizes faces, understands emotions, and engages in conversations, and acts as an aid in learning emotional regulation.

Greater Engagement

Children’s appeal to robots can increase their willingness to participate in emotion regulation activities. Main benefits:

  • Improved Learning: Interactive and adaptive robots provide personalised learning experiences that are more effective than traditional methods.
  • Reduced Anxiety: Predictable and controlled interactions with robots reduce anxiety and stress, and make learning and practicing new skills easier for children.

Robotics offers innovative, engaging and practical tools to help children with autism regulate emotions. By providing interactive, personalised and consistent support, robots can significantly improve the emotional development and well-being of these children, paving the way for improved social interactions and a better quality of life.



Source: European Digital Skills & Jobs Platform


Digital technology / specialisation

  • Robotics

Digital skill level

  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Geographic Scope - Country

  • Malta

Type of initiative

Local initiative