Texas Takes Aggressive First Steps to Address Autism with Humanoid Robotics
(Austin, TX) February 15, 2018 — The state of Texas recently announced the implementation of House Bill 21 (HB21), a state-funded initiative to provide its districts with innovative, evidence- and research-based, impact-proven programs and services for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Through this initiative, schools can help teach their students with ASD to tune in on emotions, express empathy, act appropriately in social situations, self-motivate, and reciprocate interactions. RoboKind (http://robokind.com/), the world leader in social robotics and the creator of Milo and robots4autism (https://robots4autism.com/), is proud to offer schools and districts a solution that meets or exceeds the expectations and goals spelled out in HB21.
To simplify the application process for educators, RoboKind is providing language (https://robots4autism.com/hb21-statutory-requirements/) for school and district administrators to use to ensure that Milo and the robots4autism curriculum are included in their grant. Schools and districts that take advantage of Milo the robot and the robots4autism curriculum will also have access to data collection and reporting analytics, a facilitator manual, training, IT and related technical support, and school and district customer service support.
“This is an incredible opportunity for schools and districts in the state of Texas to acquire life-changing technology to support their students with ASD,” said Dr. Gregory Firn, the Chief Operating Officer of RoboKind and former Texas Administrator. “It is our mission as a company to help every student on the autism spectrum connect to the world around them and reach their full potential.”
As of 2010, one in 68 children born in the U.S. are reported to have autism, a number that has risen 119.4% since 2000 (http://www.texasautismsociety.org/about-autism/). Texas has the second-highest number of children with autism in the country (http://bit.ly/2F5RolB). The total annual cost of autism in the U.S. is $236–$262 billion, but this cost can be reduced by two thirds with early diagnosis and intervention. Milo, paired with his evidence- and research-based ASD curriculum, is already bridging the gap and creating unprecedented engagement for ASD students in 26 Texas schools (http://bit.ly/2ssrJ3V). This engagement has resulted in positive outcomes seen within 1–4 months in the following three areas:
- Increased self-regulation and decreased classroom disruptions and meltdowns;
- Increased understanding of human emotions, communication, and social interaction; and
- Increased human-to-human interaction.
Schools, school districts, and Educational Service Centers are encouraged to include robots4autism in their grant applications to provide their ASD learners the access and opportunity to develop social, emotional, behavioral, and communicative skills. HB21 grant applications are due March 8, 2018.
To learn more about how Milo and the robots4autism program meet or exceed HB21 requirements, administrators can visit RoboKind’s information page (https://robots4autism.com/hb21-statutory-requirements/).
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 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 (http://robokind.com/).
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