A technological step in the right direction
The amazing thing about technology is the number of different directions it can be taken in. It’s hard to argue against the fact that the best direction it’s been taken in is by helping people.
Whether alongside medical or communicative emergencies, technology has helped society in a plethora of ways. Technology now continues to be helpful in aiding children with autism.
Changing the game
Typically the technology related to benefitting those with autism are educational-based. There are a large number of tablet apps available to help with communication and learning.
Now, it is benefitting in an interactive manner as a robot has been created to help children with autism develop their social skills. Leka is a robotically designed toy that teaches skills.
How Leka works
In an effort to aid with social skills, Leka is designed to teach children how to play interactive games such as hide and seek. One child will activate the robot by shaking it and then hides it. The other child will then search for the robot by listening to the sounds it makes.
The creators tested Leka with two children, one with autism and one with Down syndrome, and found that after playing with the robot, they were able to play the game on their own.
Prior to use of Leka, the children were unable to play the game without assistance.
Improvement of motor skills
Developers of Leka were motivated to produce this robot as technology involved with aiding children with special needs neglects to improve motor skills. Through continued research, the developers found that Leka served as a bridge for communication between the children and their parents or caregivers.
Leka, currently priced at $490, has apps that are similar to the educationally based tablet games but offers a more interactive spin. For example, there is a picture matching game where Leka will show the child a photo of a banana. The child is then responsible to go find a banana in the home and show it to the robot.
Keep kids moving and learning
The major key behind Leka is, not only to keep kids learning but, to keep them moving. The features on the robot can be customized for each child, as some lights and colors may be too stimulating and, therefore, can be turned off.
Because this technology is relatively new and fairly expensive, there has not been a ton of research done. However, this is a step in the right direction as children with special needs require more specified and personalized tools to help them learn and flourish.