Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
James Kendrick passes along a story of an autistic boy, an iPad acquired by chance, and amazing interactivity between the two. Makes me think of Grace and something I saw on Friday.
The story from SFWeekly centers on BlogHer contributing editor Shannon Rosa and her autistic son Leo. After winning an iPad in a raffle, Shannon handed the device to her son to see if he would respond to it as he had to her iPod touch, which he found interesting but too small to handle. He took to it like a duck to water “spending 30 minutes at a time on apps designed to teach spelling, counting, drawing, making puzzles, remembering pictures, and more” to the stunned delight of his mother.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Contact: Cindy Waeltermann, AutismCenter of Pittsburgh (412) 364-1886
Seema Patel, CEO &Co-Founder, Interbots, (412) 687-0818
Kristin Gallagher, Manager, Autitsm Center of Pittsburgh, (412) 343-4303
Robots to help children with autism.
Pittsburgh, PA USA -- Interbots, LLC, a high-tech spinoff company associated with the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center has teamed up with the Autism Center of Pittsburgh to provide innovative robot-based therapy for children with autism.
According to Seema Patel, CEO and co-founder of Interbots, "We've had numerous individuals tell us our robots could be tremendous tools for Autism therapy. We're excited to be working with the Autism Center of Pittsburgh and the Sprout Foundation to take this first step. We're going to learn a lot from the next few months."
"The premise behind the program is that children with autism are sometimes more likely to communicate with a non-human entity," said Cindy Waeltermann, Founder and Director of the Autism Centers of Pittsburgh. "When you have a child with autism, you use whatever interests them to gain access into their world. The idea is to bridge the gap between their word and ours.
Popchilla will be used in the first phase of the program with a trained therapist. Programmers and developers at Interbots have created an iPad application that will allow the therapist to direct sessions, which will eventually be transitioned to allow the child to control the robot through an iPad application to identify emotions.
According to Waeltermann, "By using Popchilla as an intermediary, we hope to increase the understanding of internal feelings, thus reducing behavioral frustrations."
The program is funded by Spark. Spark is an initiative of The Sprout Fund catalyzing projects and programs that engage children ages birth to eight through the creative use of technology and media. Spark challenges individuals, organizations, and communities to generate inventive technology-based solutions to the issues and opportunities facing today's young child. Through its funding opportunities and extensive network of support, Spark is unleashing the innovative potential of Southwestern Pennsylvania and transforming our region into one of the best places on earth to be a kid.
"Our emphasis has always been making the use and control of our robots as simple and flexible as possible. You don't need to have a technical background to control our characters. You can control them with a variety of other familiar devices. So that opens a lot of interesting applications - like having a therapist or a parent use our robots as a tool to interact with children - even the possibility of kids using the robot to express themselves and explore emotions on their own," according to Sabrina Haskell, Interbots, Designer & Co-Founder.
The iPad application is currently in production and the program is slated to begin this fall.
"Nobody is more excited than the parents of the children with autism who have the potential to gain great strides from this program," said Cindy Waeltermann. "That's what this is all about -- thinking outside the box to reach these kids."
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
A respected and revered pioneer in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders has died. Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas passed away in California.
Dr. Lovaas developed the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which helps people with autism learn to function in day-to-day society. His work began in the 1960s and helped thousands of children with autism across the globe. ABA is evidence-based treatment that proves successful in about half of the patients treated, and can offer the chance for a more productive life.
In Reno, Deborah Schumacher's son, Cliff, was the first child to receive treatment from Dr. Lovaas. In the early 1990's, Schumacher said she knew "something was clearly not developmentally right" with her little boy, "but i didn't know what was wrong." She learned of Dr. Lovaas's methods and classes at UCLA, and moved to southern California with Cliff when he was three years old.
More at http://www.mynews4.com/story.php?id=24495&n=122