Congressman and special needs advocate, Pete Sessions, visits Tom C. Gooch Elementary to see students interact with Milo, the facially expressive humanoid robot
(Dallas, TX) April 11, 2018 — RoboKind, the world leader in social robotics and the creator of Milo and robots4autism, today announced its partnership with Tom C. Gooch Elementary School in Dallas, TX, to break down barriers for students with special needs and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The school adopted Milo and the robots4autism curriculum in early April, and within days were seeing results with students. On Wednesday April 4, 2018, Texas congressman and special needs advocate, Pete Sessions, showed his support of the newly implemented technology by visiting the school to see Milo in action.
“As the proud father of a young man with Down Syndrome, I am always interested in new tools and unique ways to help kids with disabilities learn and grow with their peers,” said Congressman Sessions. “When I first met Milo, RoboKind’s humanoid robot, I was blown away by its ability to help kids with autism unpack social and emotional skills. It was amazing to see Milo in action at Gooch Elementary School. I am delighted that North Texas schools are using this leading-edge tool to better connect and teach our kids.”
One in five students at Gooch receive special education services, and enrollment for special needs students continues to increase every year. Congressman Sessions visited four classrooms, including 4th grade, art, 1st grade, and a preschool program for children with disabilities. His support for Milo at Gooch Elementary has had a positive impact on the implementation process and quick adoption among teachers, para-professionals, and students.
“Unlike with traditional therapy, with Milo you can quantify the outcomes of the therapy, and more efficiently find the student’s deficits in communication and work on them directly,” said Gooch Elementary Principal Kim Ashmore. “The improvement in the social intelligence of our students with access to Milo is already minimizing these disruptions, and will lessen the need for whole school strategies.”
Teachers at Gooch Elementary use Milo the facially expressive social robot, coupled with the comprehensive robots4autism curriculum, to teach social behaviors and emotional identification to students with ASD. 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.
“If you visited Gooch Elementary, you wouldn’t believe that students had only been working with Milo for a few days,” said Greg Firn, the Chief Operating Officer of RoboKind, who visited the school to help train the staff. “They’re so comfortable interacting with him that it seems like they’ve been using Milo for much longer.”
Many students with ASD prefer objects to people, and Milo offers a non-threatening way for them to practice their communication skills. The robot never gets tired or frustrated, but continues to deliver lessons in a way the student can understand. Through the robots4autism curriculum, 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 has made a phenomenal impact on so many students with ASD and other disabilities,” said Fred Margolin, the co-founder of RoboKind. “It’s our mission to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their highest potential, and Gooch Elementary has taken a huge step by adopting Milo for their students. With the support of Congressman Pete Sessions and a number of other government officials and entities, we have been able to bring Milo to even more students in the great state of Texas.”
Currently, Milo is in 290 school districts in 27 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. Since the company launched in 2011, Milo has delivered more than 250,000 lessons to children with ASD, and currently works with thousands of children daily.
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.