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Project on Building Robots for Musical Training of ASD Children Funded by SCOLAR

Our Faculty member Dr Chen Si’s project “Developing a Social Robot for Cantonese and Mandarin Speech Prosody Training in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder” received a funding of over one million Hong Kong dollars from the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR). The proposed project and its deliverables may significantly improve ASD children’s speech, communication and learning skills.

The project will be the first to examine both Cantonese and Mandarin speech prosody production by trilingual children with and without ASD at Hong Kong. In addition, it aims to use sung speech training to improve speech prosody production of ASD children, which will be beneficial for education development and clinical applications. The sung speech training methods target at the prosody deficit of ASD children and aim to improve their mapping between acoustic cues and information structure. Since communicating with robots is considered less frustrating for ASD children, the proposed project aims to build a social robot with designed interaction tasks based on our sung speech training program. In the future, the social robot can be further modified and developed to support various needs of ASD children in learning languages and communication skills.

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