A child-robot interaction treatment for severe dysgraphia

Thomas Gargot, Thibault Asselborn, Ingrid Zammouri, Julie Brunelle, Wafa Johal, Pierre Dillenbourg, Dominique Archambault, Mohamed Chetouani, David Cohen, Salvatore M. Anzalone

Writing disorders are common and hinder progress. However, social robots may help to improve children's motivation and to provide enjoyable and custom activities. Here, we have used the Co-writer scenario. A child is asked to teach a robot how to write by demonstrating it on a tablet, combined with a series of games we developed to train pressure, tilt, speed, and control.

This setup was proposed to a 10-year-old boy with a complex developmental disorder who had severe dysgraphia. His handwriting problems were severe and limited his participation in classroom activities despite two years of specific support in school, and professional speech and motor remediation. We implemented the setup during his occupational therapy for 20 consecutive weekly sessions, which restored his motivation. Avoidance behaviours disappeared during sessions and at school; his handwriting quality and posture improved dramatically.

In conclusion, treating dysgraphia using child–robot interaction is feasible and improves writing. More extensive clinical studies are required to confirm that children with dysgraphia could benefit from this setup.