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The documentary Voices from the Outside shows how to create a community for ASD

Just as the word ‘spectrum’suggests, every child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is different, with varying interests. Some ASD learners may be creative, others excel in computer sciences, and others may be interested in sports. One thing is for sure though, children with autism want to have friends. Building a community for children with ASD is no easy task when considering the social challenges children with ASD have, but it’s not impossible. In the documentary, “Voices from the Outside,” which follows the non-profit organization Brooklyn Junior Autistic Golfers Academy (BJAGA), children with ASD are connecting and building a community. “Through the experiences that these autistic children had at the BJAGA, they are able to take their perceptions and inner conversations and reshape them,” said Michael Russ, author of “Zero Adversity Training,”…

Robots4Autism ‘normalizes’ brain functions in autistic students

An on-going autism study of students working with the Robots4Autism’s curriculum shows improvement in brain function on brainwave scans (QEEG). Children working with Robots4Autism make significant progress in acquiring social and emotional skills and self regulation when thousands of hours of traditional therapy has not produced results. Doctor of Occupational Therapy Shelley Margow, owner and clinical director of Children’s Therapy Works used Quantitative Electroencephalograph (QEEG) to map the cognitive function of her patients’ brainwaves before and after working with Robots4Autism.

Social robots used to teach kids around the world

iTech Post covers current social robots used in schools around the world. From Canada to China, teachers are getting new assistants to help engage students. In China over 200 kindergarten schools have introduced Keeko, a small white robot, to children. Keeko, created by Xiamen ZhiTong Technology, helps students understand language, mathematics, and reading. In the Youtube video that iTech Post links, CNN visits MIT Personal Robotic group to learn about the Dragon-bots and other robotic projects used to teach children. “Across all of these industries there’s this real challenge,” Cynthia Brazil, the head of the MIT group tells CNN. “The demand is going up, up, up, but the supply of institutions or the human resource professionals are not projected to come close to meeting that demand. So we need technology to step in and fill that gap.” This gap is even more pronounced when looking at…

CBS Miami interview RoboKind’s Cofounder Richard Margolin at KIPP Truth Academy in Dallas

CBS Miami joins RoboKind’s Cofounder Richard Margolin at KIPP Truth Academy in Dallas to learn more about Milo and his work with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The news coverage highlights one of Milo’s most beneficial lessons plans, the Cool Down methods, which helps ASD Learners develop self-regulating techniques. “When you bring technology into it, whether it’s Milo or something else, you end up with a bridge where it’s something they can engage with,” Margolin tells CBS Miami, commenting on the success of Milo. “It’s something that’s less overwhelming to them.” Milo’s cartoonish appearance is less threatening to children with ASD and is designed to speak 20% slower than the average human. He never gets tired or frustrated and is always willing to repeat a lesson as many times as needed. Repetition is key for teaching ASD learners. Keenan, one of the first graders…

John Rigazio recognized by New York Senate for autism fundraising efforts

John Rigazio is a perfect example that nothing is impossible for someone with autism. Diagnosed at the age six, John’s family joined efforts to improve and support the autistic community. Joseph, John’s father and CEO of Talisen Construction Corporation, funded many organizations such as Autism Speaks. Since 2009, Rigazio family participated in a multitude of autism awareness events. One event they joined is called Bike to the Beach, a 100-mile journey from Manhattan to Westhampton. John, now a senior at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, and Joseph joined a 25-member team named Team Talisen, and raised over $40,000. “Seeing everyone from school was great,” John told PRNewswire, when discussing his trip through his hometown to Westhampton and seeing the support of people gathered to watch his team ride through. “We trained a lot for the ride and I had fun doing it together…

The Vision For Special Needs Students

The classroom experience I want for your child with special needs   For a parent of a child with special needs, it can be hard to spend time apart while he or she attends school for the majority of the day. Former superintendent Dr. Gregory Firn shares the keys to building a successful relationship with your child’s teachers. Ask a superintendent about parental engagement and you will hear sincere optimism about the role, responsibility, and commitment to open, transparent two-way communication. Ask a superintendent about the experiences they envision, expect and desire for each student and you will hear much the same. However, when pressed to be specific about students with special needs, the answers may seem, well, less certain or hopeful. Please don’t misread this as disparaging towards educators, it is not meant to be. Rather, it is from personal experience as a superintendent…

Autism Community weighs in on Sesame Street’s newest friend Julia

Portraying people with differences in media is no easy task. Challenging stereotypes can be even more difficult. In the case of autism, creating a character that represents an entire community can seem insurmountable, but the team at Sesame Street was more than willing to take up the challenge. In the episode “Meet Julia” Sesame Street gets a new friend who’s on the spectrum. Throughout the episode, Julia’s “quirks” are explained to Big Bird and in turn the audience. After the episode aired, the autism community weighed in to decide if Sesame Street created a positive image for a child with autism. In the Spokesman-Review, an online news publication, joined several families who have children with autism to get their take on Julia, the newest Sesame Street friend. The families pointed out that Sesame Street did a good job of incorporating different aspects of autism spectrum disorder…

West Vancouver is the first Canadian school district to work with Milo

It’s been a little over two months since Rebecca Vincent, a Therapist and Learning Support teacher from West Vancouver, Canada, tweeted RoboKind about her student completing his first session. Since then, West Vancouver has been gaining attention as the first school district in Canada to use Milo. Global News checked in with the school district, which has a total of five robots, to see what all the fuss was about. “My favorite thing about him is that he’s a robot and it’s really cool that a toy can actually do this,” Christian Chorbajian, one of Vincent’s gifted students with autism spectrum disorder, told Global News. Milo is helping Christian, and other students with ASD improve their conversational and situational skills. “What sold me on the program was not just the fact that Milo is a robot, which is the draw for the kids and brings them in, but it’s extremely well-researched;…

Disruptor Daily places RoboKind on top 10 list of disruptive companies in Dallas

Disruptor Daily, an online publication that covers the latest innovations by companies, founders, and more, listed RoboKind among the Top 10 Disruptive Companies in Dallas. First on the list, Disruptor Daily gives a brief introduction to RoboKind’s R25, an expressive robot also known as Milo and Jett. Milo is the face of RoboKind’s Robots4Autism, which teaches children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) how to identify facial expressions using his fully-articulate, emotive face. His curriculum is comprised of basic social interactions and self-regulation techniques, such as the Calm Down methods, which help ASD learners integrate into a class setting with their peers. Jett teams up with Robots4STEM, a program created to teach children, as early as 3rd grade and late as high school, the basics of computer science. In conjunction with Jett, RoboKind developed a visual drag-and-drop…

Sensory-friendly activities and screenings for children with special needs

Sometimes, in a two-hour-long movie, kids just can’t sit still.  Other moviegoers call the disruptive kid misbehaved. Outsiders call into question the parents’ ability to discipline their child without consideration that there may be a reason the child is acting out. In cases for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other special needs, loud noises and a dark unfamiliar environment might cause the child to respond negatively. Thankfully movie theaters and other organizations across the country have taken into consideration the growing need for inclusive services and dedicated a day for children with special needs and their families to enjoy the latest entertainment. Sensory-friendly activities and special need screenings create a welcoming environment where no one complains if a kid walks around or talks during those emotional movie moments. Theaters, like Studio Movie…

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