Photo of Isabel García Velázquez

Isabel García Velázquez

PhD student

I have a keen interest in autism and artificial intelligence-based technologies in care settings. Specifically, how autism is understood today by roboticists and how those ideas are presented in social robots.

Social Robots and Autism 

Robotic research and imaginaries of autism often centre around the potential of robot therapies for transforming or healing the person with autism or the preference of those “on the spectrum” for mechanical and predictable things over other persons. This approach, as it is used in the design of assistive technologies and artificial intelligence systems in Euro-American research, reinscribes Enlightenment structures that lead to classify certain behaviours as autistic or social deficits while other similar expressions enjoy rational status as socially accepted.

Research project

What does it mean to be labelled as autistic? What does a social robot need to have for being used in autism? How and when does the socially interactive performance of the robot comes into existence? And, how do human-robot interactions-based interventions for ASD inform the development of the socially assistive robotics field? Drawing upon ethnographic methods,  my research finds shelter at the juncture of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches where feminist and decolonial studies constitute the dwellings that inform my writing.

Reach out

If you have similar research interests on autism and social robots, like to collaborate, or simply would like to know more about my research project, feel free to contact me at

A person is sitting in front of a robot and reading a screen.