YOUNGSTOWN, OH – November 15, 2021– A few years ago, Dr. Gregory Boerio, Executive Director of The Rich Center, and several members of The Center staff met Milo, a robot utilized in RoboKind’s social skills curriculum, at the OCALI (Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence) conference. “RoboKind presented us with an opportunity to implement a social-emotional learning curriculum across our entire student population at both YSU and our satellite program at St. Charles, but the project cost and implementation was too much to take on at the time,” according to Boerio.
But thanks to the generosity of a grant provided by The Youngstown Foundation, Milo and his friends are coming to the campus of YSU! The funding will be used to (1) adopt and implement the accessible social skills curriculum, which utilizes robots and touch technology for students with ASD ages three through twenty-one, and (2) enhance The Center’s mission focused on the analysis of existing research on autism education, universal design, and accessibility of learning for all students in order to inform the Center’s future program implementation.
Milo and Jemi, inspired by Dr. Mae Jemison, will be stationed at The Center on campus and Milo II at St. Charles.
“Thanks to the Youngstown Foundation, not only will we support our student’s development, but we will be able to conduct high-level research in support of our mission to define and implement best-practices in the education of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It’s a great day for The Rich Center and Youngstown State University!” adds Boerio.
RoboKind’s robots4autism social skills curriculum teaches communication skills, emotional understanding, self-regulation tools, and more areas associated with social-emotional development for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In addition to the use of robots, the use of touch-screen technology via iPads further promotes accessibility of the curriculum’s content for all students with ASD. Allowing Rich Center students access to this evidence-based curriculum, will allow for improvement in self-regulation, social interactions, academics, and achievement of individualized education program (IEP) goals. Click here for more information on RoboKind.