Robots to teach disabled children how to play

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Playing is an important part of childhood; through play, children learn about the physical and social environment, the self and how to develop social relationships. However, children with cognitive, developmental or physical disabilities may find it harder to play. This affects their learning potential and can result in them becoming socially isolated. The IROMEC (Interactive Robotic Social mediators as Companions) project is investigating how robotic toys can be used to help these children learn how to play and so develop strong social skills. The robots will act as intermediaries, encouraging the disabled children to try out a range of play skills, including solitary play and social play. They will also be able to urge other children or adults to join in the games.

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