Keywords: autism, social abilities, robotics, virtual world.
The present article describes the results of a pilot study, framed within a wider research design, activated in 2019 by the joint effort of the University of Macerata (Italy) and the RobotiCSS Lab of the University of Milan Bicocca (Italy). The study involved a child with High-Functioning Autism in a work session of growing complexity that was designed to foster the development of abilities of emotional and mental states by using the NAO robot. Beside the design process and the sequence of activities the article will illustrate the socio-emotional profile of the child as resulted by the TEC test and the analysis of the indicators related to: ocular contact, attention and imitation and the set of prompts offered during the interactions with the robot. Finally, authors will discuss the opportunity to widen the pilot with a second step of work sessions by integrating the social immersive 3D virtual world edMondo.