According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 68 American children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Now, a technological breakthrough is connecting with children who have autism in ways which adults have never been able to before.
A robot named “Milo” is partially plastic and is 2 feet tall, and a rising giant in the Autism community.
The robot, programmed to teach children about a wide range of social interactions, is proving more successful than humans in helping children with autism, by a long shot.
Pamela Rollins, who has studied communication disorders for years, worked with a company called “Robokind” to develop Milo.
"All children with autism have problems with social interactions. But they're really good at technology and so Milo creates that bridge, where he is humanoid, has a human face, but is cartoonish so children in the spectrum are engaged with him,” Rollins said.
Children with Autism often have a hard time talking with or even looking at human therapists, but they light up with Milo.
"We found that especially with the fluent children, they were engaged with milo 87-percent of the time. We also looked at how much they were engaged with the therapist when she tried to talk to them, it was about 3-percent,” Rollins said.
The robot speaks 25 percent slower than the average human, and he has a broad but still limited range of facial expressions, so he is less likely to display emotions that get in the way of learning.
“He can repeat it over...If you don't get it, he can repeat it over and over and over and over and over and never get frustrated...Say it in exactly the same way...Take his time,” Rollins said.
Children with Autism need repetition.
The CDC said one out of every 68 children born in the country has some form of Autism, and Rollins is convinced a great many could benefit from a friend like Milo.
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