By: Julie T., Speech & Language Pathologist
It’s that time of year again! The weather is warmer, the days are longer, and the school year has come to an end! This summer in particular may be extra special as children eagerly return to their carefree pre-pandemic activities and play groups. With the inevitable changes in structure and routine, along with limited professional summer support, summer can often bring challenges to children with autism and their families. For autistic children who thrive on consistency and predictability, these changes can be quite unsettling. Such change may lead to an increase in anxiety, anxiety-related behaviors, and regression of skills. This may be particularly true for children who have only recently returned to the in-person learning model in the last few months and will once again have to adapt to being home again.
While summer school may be an option for some, it generally runs only for a few weeks, and still leaves a significant gap of time before the start of the new school year. So how can we support children with autism for this time of transition and ensure that learning is maintained while keeping it fun and motivating? MOVIA Robotics has developed an exciting and innovative way to address the educational challenges that autistic children and their families face when not in school. Using Robot-Assisted Instruction (RAI), MOVIA has created a unique software program and curriculum for children with special needs and autism to be easily used in the home on a daily basis. The HomePal system implements three modalities including the Kebbi robot (for interaction and instruction), a child-directed tablet (for inputting responses), and a parent-controlled laptop (which selects the content and directs the flow of the lesson plans). The benefits of using MOVIA’s HomePal system include, but are not limited to:
Learning Consistency: The HomePal provides a visual, tangible method of learning that is clear and consistent. This helps to give structured predictability so that your child knows what to expect within each lesson and can better anticipate what is coming next. The system also stores data from each activity so parents can track their child’s progress.
Personalized Instruction: MOVIA’s HomePal learning system can be tailored to each child’s individual skill level and academic need. Lessons can include, but are not limited to, activities of daily living like brushing teeth and getting dressed, as well as academic-based instruction like recognizing letters and identifying sounds in words. The team at MOVIA works directly with each family to ensure individualized attention and configuration of each skill and activity session. The system also stores data from each activity so parents can track their child’s progress.
Reinforcement of Positive Behaviors: Children thrive in a learning environment that is both engaging and encouraging. The HomePal provides non-judgmental instruction while giving positive feedback throughout each learning session. The HomePal can even be uniquely programmed to cheer on your child using his or her favorite phrase or saying and calling him or her by name.
Decreased Anxiety: The HomePal provides consistent non-threatening educational lessons. The robot’s tone and language is nonjudgmental, patient and enthusiastic. The HomePal system is portable and can be used in any setting where your child is most comfortable. MOVIA understands the unique needs of autistic children and has programmed activities that will help your child regroup, deescalate, and focus on mindfulness. This predictable, social, peer-like robot leads to decreased child anxiety.
Fun Learning: Learning through play-based activities plays a crucial role in improving skills in all developmental areas at any age. The HomePal system is not only useful but also adorable and extremely fun. The robot can make music, dance, and play a variety of games with your child. Once you set eyes on this robot you will fall in love!
MOVIA Robotics is working with school districts to provide its RAI to summer programs as well as working with families to provide the MOVIA HomePal to children who are unable to receive summer school programming. Please contact MOVIA at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a demonstration or consultation with MOVIA’s experts.