Interactive Technologies for Autistic Children: A Review

Sofiane Boucenna, Antonio Narzisi, Elodie Tilmont, Filippo Muratori, Giovanni Pioggia, David Cohen, Mohamed Chetouani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recently, there have been considerable advances in the research on innovative information communication technology (ICT) for the education of people with autism. This review focuses on two aims: (1) to provide an overview of the recent ICT applications used in the treatment of autism and (2) to focus on the early development of imitation and joint attention in the context of children with autism as well as robotics. There have been a variety of recent ICT applications in autism, which include the use of interactive environments implemented in computers and special input devices, virtual environments, avatars and serious games as well as telerehabilitation. Despite exciting preliminary results, the use of ICT remains limited. Many of the existing ICTs have limited capabilities and performance in actual interactive conditions. Clinically, most ICT proposals have not been validated beyond proof of concept studies. Robotics systems, developed as interactive devices for children with autism, have been used to assess the child’s response to robot behaviors; to elicit behaviors that are promoted in the child; to model, teach and practice a skill; and to provide feedback on performance in specific environments (e.g., therapeutic sessions). Based on their importance for both early development and for building autonomous robots that have humanlike abilities, imitation, joint attention and interactive engagement are key issues in the development of assistive robotics for autism and must be the focus of further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-740
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive Computation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 4 2014


  • Children with autism
  • Imitation
  • Joint attention
  • Robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

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  • Cite this

    Boucenna, S., Narzisi, A., Tilmont, E., Muratori, F., Pioggia, G., Cohen, D., & Chetouani, M. (2014). Interactive Technologies for Autistic Children: A Review. Cognitive Computation, 6(4), 722-740.