Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dr Deborah Bubela, Dr Kerry Marsh

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Background: Coordination develops gradually over development with younger children showing more unstable coordination patterns compared to older children and adults. In the present study, we examined whether robot-child interactions could improve bilateral coordination skills of typically developing (TD) children through imitation of whole body actions. Methods: Twenty four TD children between 4 and 11 years of age were non-randomly assigned to training and control group. Training group children received twelve training sessions across six weeks in a robot imitation context involving whole body and drumming actions. Children were assessed pre- and post-training on standardized tests of motor performance, and task-specific dual-limb and multilimb actions within a solo and social context. Results: Training group children improved their bilateral coordination following training compared to the control group children. Specifically, training group showed greater improvements in task-specific actions versus standardized tests of motor performance. In addition, TD children performed better in the solo versus the social context of task-specific actions. Conclusions: Robot-child interactions could potentially facilitate bilateral coordination and be a promising intervention tool for children with significant coordination impairments such as children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). The present study served as a foundation for future group studies in children with ASDs.

Keywords: Dual-limb, Multilimb, Motor, Coordination, Social, Autism

Major Advisor

Dr Anjana N. Bhat