Being a special education teacher is no easy task. You have to work within a system that has little wiggle room to accommodate students with special needs, and deal with parents who demand the best for their child, all the while giving each of your students the tools they need to succeed beyond your classroom. Working with parents to set realistic IEP goals that can be met in a timely manner can seem like an impossible task, even more so when working with students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
ASD learners present a different kind of challenge when trying to set and meet IEP goals. With traditional therapy methods it can seem like you are trying to forcefully correct a behavior instead of letting the student naturally step out of their shell. If the student does make progress towards a goal, there isn’t always a way suitable way to measure their success.
Is there a better way to help your student?
Robots4Autism isn’t a correctional program. It’s a key that opens the world to people with ASD. RoboKind has created a friendly teacher’s assistant named Milo, a socially advanced robot with an emotive face, to help your student navigate the tricky parts of social behavior. His evidence-based curriculum, carefully structured with the assistance of autism experts, provides ASD learners with the tools they need to engage in social interactions, understand emotional cues, and develop self-regulating techniques.
Robots4Autism encourages ASD learners to move at their own pace. Milo’s friendly appearance and patient demeanor creates an environment free of judgement and stress. As your student progresses through Milo’s lessons they grow more comfortable, which in turn allows them to express themselves and communicate better with others.
How successful is Milo?
Robots4Autism and Milo have returned tremendous results in breaking down the barrier between a child with ASD and their family. With an impressive 70 to 80 percent success rate, compared to the 3 percent success of traditional therapy, ASD learners interact and speak with others in as little as 3 to 6 weeks.
Rebecca Vincent, a Learning Support Teacher from West Vancouver, Canada shared her story of two students’ interactions after going through Milo’s conversation lessons. Both students, first grade and second grade, struggled with communicating with others or continuing a conversation.
“I had picked up both students from their classes, and usually during our walk down the hallway to my room, I am initiating and prompting conversation, but on this day, the two students were steps ahead of me chatting away about their weekends, independent and unaware of me in the background,” said Vincent. “What really blew me away was when I heard one say “And this weekend, I saw an eagle, your favorite animal!” This exchange happened one week after going through the conversation lesson with Milo.”
How does the curriculum work?
RoboKind, with the assistance of autism experts, studied the most common issues that ASD learners struggle with, looked at the current practices available, and developed Robots4Autism to improve on existing solutions. Using a combination of robotics and tablet interactive lessons, RoboKind has created tools to help you bridge the gap between ASD learner the world.
Five Modules to meet the IEP Goals
Milo speaks 20 percent slower than humans. He never gets tired, never gets frustrated, and can repeat a lesson as many time as needed. His curriculum is broken down into five modules that address most of the IEP goals that are set for children with ASD.
A common behavior for ASD learners is temper tantrums or meltdowns, usually brought on when the child is overwhelmed by information or frustrated with their situation. Milo teaches your students several different techniques for how to handle their frustration (Count to 10, take deep breaths, or take a break). This module sets the base for the students to develop self-regulative behavior and give them a chance to understand why they are frustrated.
This module uses a combination of Milo’s expressive face, pictorial cues, word association, and tablet interactions to teach your student how to recognize emotional expressions. Milo also provides an explanation on why a person will use a certain expression, and teaches your student how to be empathetic to others.
Milo can help your student learn how to greet someone, what to do when someone doesn’t respond, and how to say good-bye. Your student will also learn how to maintain conversations with their families and friends.
Milo teaches your student how to interact with others in different situations such as playing with others, what to do when they’re bored, and understanding the words like ‘gift,’ and ‘present.’
You can see a breakdown of each module here.
How can I get Milo into my school?
Visit Robots4Autism site to learn more about Milo and his success with helping children around the world. Take his success stories to your leadership team, and reach out to RoboKind if you aren’t sure how to open a conversation with your team or you’re ready for that next step in getting Milo into your classroom.
If you think that your school can’t afford a Milo, check into RoboKind’s Robots4Autism grant program. The Grant Program was created by the Autism Society as an easy way for people and organizations to donate funds that can be used to provide the Robots4Autism program to schools all over the country.
It’s important to know that Milo does not replace you. He can’t be successful without you. He is your ally, who can help you reach your students on a level thought previously impossible. Together, you can help your student not just become a functional adult, but an active member of society, a better quality of life, and the potential to do great things.