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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental condition that affects an individual’s ability to communicate and relate to others. Despite such challenges, early intervention during childhood development has shown to have positive long-term benefits for individuals with ASD. Namely, early childhood development of communicative speech skills has shown to improve future literacy and academic achievement. However, the delivery of such interventions is often time-consuming. Socially assistive robots (SARs) are a potential strategic technology that could help support intervention delivery for children with ASD and increase the number of individuals that healthcare professionals can positively affect. For SARs to be effectively integrated in real-world treatment for individuals with ASD, they should follow current evidence-based practices used by therapists such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In this work, we present a study that investigates the efficacy of applying well-known ABA techniques to a robot-mediated listening comprehension intervention delivered to children with ASD at a university-based ABA clinic. The interventions were delivered in place of human therapists to teach study participants a new skill as a part of their overall treatment plan. All the children participating in the intervention improved in the skill being taught by the robot and enjoyed interacting with the robot, as evident by high occurrences of positive affect as well as engagement during the sessions. One of the three participants has also reached mastery of the skill via the robot-mediated interventions. 
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