What people don't know about autism.
Autism is a brain developmental disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior. Autism can start before a child reaches the age of three years old, although it's mostly observed during infancy. Signs are usually notice by parents in the first two years of the child's life.
There are a few treatments for autism but not any real cure. Most cases are treated by behavior/educational interventions like family therapy or counseling. In other cases medication is prescribed by doctors to help patients with the disorder.
Researchers are constantly searching for new ideas to help patients with autism. A researcher named Justine Cassell whose a professor of Communicational studies and director of North western's center for technology and Social behavior; teamed up with researcher Andrea Tartaro to collect data from children with high functioning autism. They studied 6 different children from ages 7 to 11 as they engaged in an hour long session of play with a real child. The researchers also studied the children with an virtual peer named Sam. Their goal was to see if children with autism where able to generalize the skills they learned during practice sessions with virtual peers to interaction with real children. The researcher's found that autistic children produced more "contingent" sentences when speaking to the virtual peer, while sentences where less "contingent" when paired with real children.
I feel that this is a break through for autistic children. Using a virtual peer can be very beneficial because most people become impatient with the repetitiveness of the autistic child. The virtual peer will not get tired of helping the child for any length of time. So I certainly agree that the virtual peer holds promise for the future of autism, do you?