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Milo demonstrates leave-taking skills

GoUpstate.com posts a video of Milo at McCarthy Teszler School in South Carolina, the first school in its district to join Robots4Autism. In the video, Milo is working with a student demonstrating leave-taking, or goodbye. This is one of the modules that helps children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop the skill to look others in the eye. One characteristic of ASD is difficulties looking at others. Throughout Robots4Autism’s curriculum, ASD learners are repeatedly asked to look at Milo and then shown video examples of Milo’s ‘friends,’ to further reinforce the lesson. These lessons are displayed on smart devices for the student to interact with Milo. In the video, Milo does not work alone. A teacher is present and encourages the student to follow directions or help solve questions. Robots4Autism wasn’t designed to replace practitioners. Instead, he works with teachers,…

RoboKind wins big at LAUNCH Festival!

RoboKind took the world’s largest Startup event by storm. Richard Margolin, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, went head to head in a pitch battle against some of the best entrepreneurs to win LAUNCH Festival’s Best in Education. Scouted last November by the Dallas IBM Startup Outreach program, Richard took on 20 of the top entrepreneurs companies in Dallas. His impressive pitch won the company a spot in the top 60 Startup quarterfinals. His winning streak didn’t stop there as RoboKind was selected among the top 10 to go to LAUNCH Festival where the top three gave their pitches to a panel of investors. While Richard impressed with his pitch, Milo captivated convention goers. “We were very successful at this event in achieving what we set out to do, which was a lot of exposure,” Richard said RoboKind and Milo were a big hit at the convention. Milo’s expressive face and mission to…

Milo teaching children at McCarthy Teszler School in South Carolina

McCarthy Teszler School in South Carolina is the first in its district to join the Robots4Autism program. The school created for children with special needs has always sought to give their students the best education possible by leveraging new practices and technology. Studies show that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) connect better with technology, which is one of the reasons why RoboKind’s Milo is so successful. “The best way to think about Milo is a bridge between our world and their world,” Kylie McKinney, an autism specialist at McCarthy Teszler School, told The State, an online publication. “They’re sometimes so entranced in technology, but Milo draws their attention up to him.” “Many of the students who have worked with the robot have an easier time interacting with devices like smartphones or iPads,” Elena Ghionis, another autism specialist at McCarthy Teszler…

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 students with autism

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…

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