Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Clinic Notes: Robots, Autism, and ABA
The Today Show recently had a piece on robots, which were designed to "interact" with children with autism. Previous observations have found that children with autism interact with mechanical devices such as touch screen computers or computer generated speech devices better than they do with humans. Hopefully, these specially designed robots could become "playmates" for children and teach them how to make eye contact and develop social skills. In my clinic, and other clinics, we do much the same thing with ABA and at a much cheaper price. Anyone in private practice will tell you that overhead is a curse and no one in private practice would be able to buy or rent one of these robots. Another curse in private practice is dealing with insurance companies. I would worry that even if the price of the robots came down and were affordable, would the insurance companies reimburse the provider for the robots' services?