It’s been six weeks since Milo joined Rebecca Vincent’s class and began to work with Vincent’s students. RoboKind touched base with Vincent, a Learning Support Teacher from West Vancouver, Canada, to learn about the impact Milo and Robots4Autism have had in her school.
“I have had numerous teachers in the school come tell me how much they’ve noticed a difference in engagement and communication when they pass these students in the hallway and enter their classroom.”
After working with Milo, students are able to communicate better
Vincent has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), for 10 years in various positions ranging from school, to community programs. Before Milo, Vincent had no idea that RoboKind and Robots4Autism existed, but was willing to give the program a test run with three of her students. Although her students are still in the early stages of the program, Vincent and other teachers are noticing incredible results. Students who had previously struggled to communicate are now holding conversations with teachers and classmates. Vincent says one of the benefits of the Robots4Autism program is Milo’s ability to repeat lessons as many times as needed.
“Often, children with ASD have a difficult time understanding and using non-verbal social skills in communication (turning to the person you’re speaking to, looking at them, maintaining a comfortable distance), and Milo’s curriculum begins by teaching these fundamental non-verbal social skills. Milo repeats these lessons to cement learning and offers many opportunities to watch video models and allows students to practice.”
The WOW moment
Robots4Autism and Milo have a varied curriculum designed to help ASD learners overcome the most common problems they face with communication. One lesson has the ASD learner engage in a turn-taking conversation, where the student asks a question, listens, and then responds to the other person.
“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. What really blew me away was when I heard a child say “And this weekend, I saw an eagle, your favourite animal!”
The remarkable part about Vincent’s story wasn’t just the length of time it took her students to learn the new skill (one week), but that they retained the lesson and applied it in a real world setting.
“I was amazed at not only the retention of the social skills displayed (asking about each other’s weekends), but also that she had clearly engaged in active listening during their conversation the week before,” Vincent told RoboKind in an email.
Even at the early stages of Robots4Autism program, ASD learners show remarkable improvement. Vincent’s students are among the growing population who have worked with Milo to not just become more functional people, but active kids who can connect with their environment and create new bonds.