By: Pedro Perez IV
EDINBURG – Standing on the table where decisions at Edinburg CISD are made, Milo, introduced itself to members of the media using hand gestures and different facial recognitions.
With ease, Milo explained how its purpose is to teach social skills to students with autism.
“My company, RoboKind has developed the world’s most cutting edge technology for children with autism,” it said.
Leading experts in the field have developed modules that teach social behaviors so that children with autism can interact with greater ease.
In an effort to assist educators with teaching students with autism the Edinburg school district has purchased six robots for roughly $10,000 each which comes with teacher training and curriculum.
The school district’s participation will mark the largest implementation of RoboKind’s not only in the Rio Grande Valley but in the state as well.
“It is another tool we’re going to have here at ECISD to help students with autism with social and emotional skills,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rene Gutierrez said.
The roll out will take place in six self-contained classroom settings at Crawford, Eisenhower, Flores/Zapata, Jefferson, LBJ and Ramirez elementary.
The curriculum targets improvement in behavior, emotional understanding, vocabulary and interaction skills. Specifically it teaches students how to calm themselves when they experience over-stimulation, how to greet and interact with other students and how to take turns when engaging in conversation.
As the humanoid speaks symbols on its chest display to connect with the meaning of the lesson. Students also watch situational videos on a tablet and answer questions from Milo about what they see in the videos.
“Milo is designed to enhance or amplfy what is already going on in the classroom,“RoboKind Regional Sales Manager Gwynn Gunter said. “There are great practices going on but a teacher, no matter what, are not technology and we’re dealing with digital natives here and they love technology.”
The implementation is schedule to begin in May.
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