Milo is a Robot Designed to Teach Kids with Autism

A staggering 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Those affected can often have trouble with language learning, social cues, and creative play. To help better engage and teach children on the autism spectrum, one company is turning to a robot.

Meet Milo. He comes from Dallas based Robokind and is a socially advanced robot who supports students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Designed to be approachable and engaging. Milo can walk, talk, and model human facial expressions. He can display happiness, sadness, frustration, anxiety, and excitement.

Specifically tailored to those with ASD, lessons are delivered verbally and designed to teach social behaviors and emotional identification to learners ages 5-17 who meet the prerequisite skills. During the session, a teacher or therapist acts as the facilitator with Milo and the child.

Milo Autism Robot RobotKind - YellRobot
credit: RobotKind

Autism Robot Displays Symbols and Videos

As Milo speaks, symbols are displayed on his chest screen to help the child better understand what is being said. Milo speaks at 82 percent of normal speed which is important because a lot of children with autism have problems perceiving speech up to a point.

During the lessons, four to five-second video clips are played on the student tablet showing the skills and behaviors both correctly and incorrectly. The child will be asked “yes” or “no” questions to determine if the people in the video are doing the behaviors right or wrong..

The facilitator and student both use a tablet while Milo delivers the lesson. The lessons can be incorporated into group sessions with more than one student. As far as power goes, the robot can run off of its internal battery or be plugged into a standard outlet.

Milo Autism Robot RobotKind - YellRobot
credit: RobotKind

Milo Available to School Districts and Therapy Centers

Milo is being sold primarily to school districts and therapy centers. More information can be found on the company’s website.

“A child on the spectrum struggles reading non-verbal communications. With milo by taking that non-verbal piece out, you are now putting that child in a safe environment from a communications standpoint,” said Dr. Shelley Margow, CEO at Childrens Therapy Works.

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