This article and video originally aired on April 8, 2022 on KMOT.
ST. JOHN, N.D. (KMOT) – April is Autism Awareness Month, and a North Dakota school is helping students on the spectrum learn new skills with a little help from a robot!
Milo is a humanoid robot designed to teach new skills to students with autism.
“Autistic kids have a hard time expressing themselves. However, with this innovative technology they love it and it hooks them in a way that someone who is sitting right next to them and it engages them,” said Dr. Sherry Tandeski, St. John Elementary Principal.
Students have been working with Milo for two weeks, getting to know him and the types of activities they can do with him.
“When Milo rewards the students, you can just see it on their face that they are proud to work with him and that they can see that they’re doing a good job. They are always getting positive feed back from him even if they get the answer wrong, he will re-correct them and have them try again,” said Paige Bryant, a paraprofessional at St. John School.
The school district is the first in the state to use the new technology and staff said they are already very happy with its success.
“We are in a technology world and I think that he helps with that. They get to still be on their iPads and get to learn that way, so I think he just really helps those that don’t prefer the adult para, they can come and do their activities with Milo,” said Bryant.
Over the coming weeks, students will start working more with Milo to build up social and emotional skills to help make them successful in their everyday lives.
Right now, Milo is used for kindergarten and elementary level students at St. John. The district hopes one day they will be able to purchase another robot to help more children.