Toward Personalized Affect-Aware Socially Assistive Robot Tutors in Long-Term Interventions for Children with Autism

by   Zhonghao Shi, et al.

Affect-aware socially assistive robotics (SAR) has shown great potential for augmenting interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, current SAR cannot yet perceive the unique and diverse set of atypical cognitive-affective behaviors from children with ASD in an automatic and personalized fashion in long-term (multi-session) real-world interactions. To bridge this gap, this work designed and validated personalized models of arousal and valence for children with ASD using a multi-session in-home dataset of SAR interventions. By training machine learning (ML) algorithms with supervised domain adaptation (s-DA), the personalized models were able to trade off between the limited individual data and the more abundant less personal data pooled from other study participants. We evaluated the effects of personalization on a long-term multimodal dataset consisting of 4 children with ASD with a total of 19 sessions, and derived inter-rater reliability (IR) scores for binary arousal (IR = 83 human annotators. Our results show that personalized Gradient Boosted Decision Trees (XGBoost) models with s-DA outperformed two non-personalized individualized and generic model baselines not only on the weighted average of all sessions, but also statistically (p < .05) across individual sessions. This work paves the way for the development of personalized autonomous SAR systems tailored toward individuals with atypical cognitive-affective and socio-emotional needs.


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