South Carolina legislators believed in the robots4autism program so much that they approved a statewide initiative to bring Milo and his lessons to students with ASD in 15 districts throughout the state, serving more than 8,000 students. In the Spartanburg school district, this initiative also resulted in a decrease in cost for the district, because of the improvements in their students with ASD. Students who had been headed for special residential care programs improved enough to be able to stay in public school, and one student was even able to reenter regular education classes. Some students also did not need to attend summer education programs, and the overall number of meltdowns and tantrums decreased dramatically, saving more time for instruction.
robots4autism uses Milo the facially expressive social robot, coupled with a comprehensive curriculum, to teach social behaviors and emotional identification to students with ASD. Milo walks, turns his head, moves his arms, and models human facial expressions. Milo delivers lessons verbally, as well as displaying symbols on his chest screen that provide visual reinforcement to help ASD learners better understand what he is saying. Students also watch real-life situational videos on a tablet, and answer questions from Milo about the behaviors they see in the video. Lessons include teaching students to calm themselves down when they get overstimulated, how to appropriately greet others, and how to take turns when conversing with another person.
Since many ASD learners prefer objects to people, Milo offers a non-threatening way for them to practice their communication skills. Milo never gets tired or frustrated, but continues to deliver lessons in a way the student can understand. Through the robots4autism curriculum, ASD students learn to tune in on emotions, express empathy, act appropriately in social situations, self-motivate, and reciprocate interactions. Milo and his curriculum have been shown to increase vocabulary and verbalization in students with ASD, as well as enable them to make friends among peers, and decrease the frequency of meltdowns.
“Milo was a life-changer for us,” said the mother of a child with ASD who worked with Milo in Georgia. “With Milo, (my daughter) would watch, listen for his question, think about it, and respond. She never did that in a normal conversation before.”
At the TCEA conference on February 7th and 8th, Milo will be meeting educators and the media at the PR with Panache! Storytelling Suite. To make an appointment, please contact Susan Hanson.
RoboKind is a Dallas-based company whose mission is to create cost-effective and inclusive education for all. Working closely with the ASD community, RoboKind has developed robots4autism and Milo, the most advanced, facially expressive humanoid robot, who has proven effectiveness in engaging ASD learners at 70% as opposed to the 3% for traditional therapy. Milo never gets tired, never gets frustrated, and is always consistent, which is important when teaching through repetition. His friendly demeanor and patience encourage ASD learners to step out of their shell and gives them the courage to interact with their environment.
The team behind robots4autism is constantly refining the curriculum through feedback from families and practitioners. RoboKind is dedicated to opening and creating pathways for all ages and groups so they can thrive in the real world through cost-effective means. To learn more, please visit RoboKind.com.