Say Hello to Milo!

A Non-threatening way for learners with ASD to practice their communication and social skills.

Milo the robot is designed to be interesting and approachable for learners with ASD. He can walk, talk and even model human facial expressions. Milo never gets frustrated or tired. He consistently delivers lessons in a way that learners with ASD respond to. This recurring positive experience creates an environment in which learners can learn and thrive. Robots4Autism helps learners improve their social and behavioral skills and gain the confidence they need to succeed academically and socially.

Using the Robots4Autism program, individuals with ASD learn to:

  • Tune in on emotions
  • Express empathy
  • Act more appropriately in social situations
  • Self-motivate
  • Generalize in the population

The Robots4Autism lessons are designed to teach social behaviors and emotional identification to learners ages 5-17 who meet the Prerequisite Skills. To determine if the curriculum is appropriate for your child, please read the prerequisite skills needed.

Milo delivers lessons verbally. As he speaks, symbols are displayed on his chest screen that will help your learner better understand what he is saying. Throughout the lessons, Milo will ask your learner to watch four to five second video clips on the student tablet. The videos show learners displaying the skills or behaviors both correctly and incorrectly that Milo is teaching. Your learner will be asked “yes” or “no” questions to determine if the learners in the video are doing the behaviors right or wrong.

It is recommended that your learner work with Milo, along with an educator or therapist, for 30 to 60 minutes at least three times a week.


Success Stories

MEET MILO, A ROBOT HELPING TEXAS STUDENTS WITH AUTISM

By Steffi Lee, KXAN

ELGIN, Texas – It used to be difficult for Elgin Middle School seventh-grader Abigail Wise to stay focused during some of her lessons in the classroom.

“Sometimes self-soothing and calming was a challenge,” Dr. Shannon Darst, itinerant teacher of students with visual impairments, said.

However, after more than a year of using Milo, a robot designed to help students with autism spectrum disorder by Texas-based company RoboKind, Wise is now engaged and attentive. The curriculum when working with Milo deals with teaching students social skills.

“She knows how to greet,” Darst said. “She knows how to say goodbye.”

Creators of Milo say students respond to Milo because of the robot’s facial expressions. Research from the Callier Center for Communication Disorders shows “individuals with autism start talking to the robots when they don’t talk to other people.”

“We are always participating in studies, so right now we have studies going on in about 25 different universities and we are looking at the research that’s coming out of that to figure out, how can we use this to improve the curriculum, expand the curriculum and make what we’re doing work better,” Richard Margolin, chief technology officer, said.

Milo can provide something not all humans can, Darst says.

“He can repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and he never gets frustrated,” she said. “[Students] will feel a teacher’s frustration. They will feel like, ‘Oh my goodness, we’ve done this 100 times. Let’s just get it.’ — that desperation almost that we just want our kids to succeed. They know they can depend on how Milo’s never going to get frustrated. We’re never going to get cut off in the middle of a lesson.”

According to numbers from the U.S Department of Education, more than 500,000 children in the country who have autism are currently getting services at school for their learning disabilities. More than 51,000 are in Texas.

Darst said Milo has transformed learning for students like Wise within Elgin ISD’s elementary and middle schools. Wise knows how to self-advocate now.

“We can work on self-soothing,” she said. “We can work on calming down by ourselves. We can work on these soft skills that they might need when they’re grown up, wanting to get jobs and wanting to have roommates.”

House Bill 21, passed during the special session, set aside grant programs for districts and charter schools that provide services to students with autism and dyslexia. Grant funds will be awarded beginning in the 2018-19 school year. $10 million has been set aside for the autism grant program, with another $10 million targeted to help students with dyslexia.


PIUTE COUNTY, MILO HELPS CHILDREN WITH AUTISM MAKE FRIENDS

After KLS, a news outlet in Utah, ran a story on Milo teaching children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Piute County. RoboKind reached out to the school and caught up with Circleville Elementary’s special education teacher Kristy DeLange, who was featured in the KLS news coverage. She was joined by the Director of special education for Piute, Heidi Hansen, and Erica Cardman, a parent whose 10-year-old son, Culann Waddington, works with Milo.

Milo was introduced to their district by Mark Child, the Executive Director of Marketing at RoboKind, and has been working with over eight students, who have various mental disabilities, for a little over four months. The children have shown incredible improvement both academically and socially. For Cardman, she says that her son has even gone so far as to start a club called the Digidestined, based off the popular Japanese animation Digimon, and actively develop friendships with his peers.

“Since working with Milo, he’ll ask to stay late after school to meet with his club he put together, or he’ll ask to go over to friends’ houses,”Cardman tells RoboKind. “Something that he never really did before because he just didn’t like to go out there and be around other people.”

DeLange says that another child who has behavioral problems and struggles with understanding the difference between him and others has slowly started to develop awareness. Another student who is multi-handicap and struggles with communication now initiates conversations.

“We always knew she had a lot to say,” Hansen says, “she’s starting the conversation, and we’re not always drilling her with questions.”

During the interview, Cardman made it clear that she is a proactive parent who is constantly looking for ways to improve or help Culann succeed in life.

“I’ve looked up so many articles, there have been specials that I’ve watched on T.V.,” she explains, “ I’ve looked into therapies, what kind of activities I shou