RoboKind to Host First Workshop on Robot-Mediated Autism Intervention

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The free, one-day event will bring together developers, researchers, and educators to discuss best practices and technology to support robot-mediated autism intervention

RoboKind, the maker of Robots4Autism and Robots4STEM, will co-host the first Interdisciplinary Workshop on Robot-Mediated Autism Intervention on September 23, 2017. The all-day workshop will take place at the New England Robotics Experimentation and Validation Center on the campus of Umass Lowell. Attendees are welcome to join the free event in person or by following a live stream.

RoboKind and SoftBank Robotics, the providers of the most widely-used robots in autism therapies (Milo and NAO, respectively) have teamed up to create a forum for leading authorities to discuss the possibility of establishing a framework for developing a certification standard for robot-mediated autism intervention (RMI).

“With 1 in 68 children in the U.S. affected by autism, clinical use of commercially available robots like Milo and NAO in autism intervention has increased significantly in recent years,” said Dr. Gregory Firn, the Chief Operating Officer at RoboKind and one of the organizers of the event. “Despite these impressive new developments in RMI, there is a huge gap in understanding among robotics researchers, robotics industries, and stakeholders on the clinical utility of robots in autism intervention. This workshop is an effort to bridge that gap.”

The workshop will bring together robotics researchers and developers, clinical researchers in autism, special education teachers, therapists, and parents and family members of autistic children to focus on two themes:

1) Best practices in robot-mediated intervention: Creating a common cause for identifying fact-based tools, strategies, and methodologies to establish robot-mediated intervention as an effective evidence-based practice in autism.

2) Technology for robot-mediated intervention: Discussing research challenges in the design and development of robot hardware and software (algorithm, language, interface) that are needed to enable seamless integration of robots into existing clinical practice in autism.

RoboKind and Robots4Autism are pleased to sponsor these featured speakers:

  • Professor Pamela R Rollins, an Associate Professor in the Communication Disorders program within the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, who conducts research in developmental pragmatics, early social communication, and ASD;
  • Richard Margolin, the founder and chief technology officer of RoboKind, who over the past decade has developed some of the world’s most recognizable facially expressive and socially interactive robots; and
  • Dr. Shelley Margow, the owner and clinical director of Children's Therapy Works, a pediatric private practice in Roswell, Georgia, and author of the book Is This My Child? Sensory Integration Simplified.

The workshop will also feature a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Firn with Dr. Thierry Karsenti, who holds the Canada Research Chair on Technologies in Education; Dr. Tracy Crowe, an educational consultant who recently served as superintendent of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District; and Dr. Momotaz Begum, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of New Hampshire. 

Free registration to attend the event in person or via live stream is available here.

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