Several years ago, some representatives from a non-profit school in Witchita Kansas called Heartspring contacted me. Two of their representatives would be coming to Paris and were interested in learning more about programs for children with autism living in Paris. I met with them and brought them up to speed about how families go about setting up an educational, behavior-based, program in France.
The Heartspring representatives were just as you would expect, friendly and open and enthusiastic to share news about their well respected program in Kansas. I left our meeting feeling warm and happy inside !
Today, while reading my autism news, I came across these friendly folks again. This time, in the form of an article about using robots to help children with autism learn appropriate social skills. Before you read that last line again to make sure you read it correctly, I will confirm it for you. Yes, robots are being used to help teach children with autism social skills !
This may seem a little counter intuitive. How can teaching a child to interact with a robot increase appropriate social skills with other people ? Proponents of up and coming robot therapy feel that, in some ways, robots may be more adept at teaching our children with autism social skills than humans because robots are sure to present teaching opportunities in the exact same way every time whereas humans will certainly change at least slightly each time they present something. This is true even if they are presenting the same activity over and over. Children with autism tend to find balance and reassurance in situations and activities that do not change.
There has been talk about using robots in ABA programming for children with autism for quite some time. Currently, according to this article, autism robots now cost about 16,000 dollars ; a hefty pricetag ! As with everything else electronic, I’m sure this price will reduce over time. These robots are highly trained and highly intelligent and can be programmed to do a part of a therapy program that you would like them to do. The robots cited in this particular article can recogize facial expressions and are equipped with a self-calming mechanism.
Here’s the article written by staff at the Autism Daily Newscast
What do you think ?
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