Florence School District One to use robots to aid autistic students

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW)-  Florence School District One recently has been selected to participate in a special Robots for Autism pilot program.

Children who face autism will be working with robots named “MILO” through this program. The goal is to help autistic students better their communication and interactive social skills.

Students will be working with Milo 60 to 90 minutes a week during the session. Milo speaks to students at a rate that is twenty percent slower than the average adult, so that the students will be able to understand clearly what he is saying.

“This will hopefully teach some coping mechanisms on how the students can get along their daily lives once they’re out of school is,” said Director of Programs for Exceptional Children Brian Denny. “The more services we can give them now hopefully the less they will need later but we will have to wait and see.”

Training with the robots has already begun. Organizers say they plan on putting them in Lester Elementary by the end of October.

“The children that are on the autism spectrum are able to focus,” said Autism instructor Melanie Padgett. “They are able to look at him because he waits for them and he tells them ‘look at me’. He plays games with them and teaches them calm down techniques when they are upset.”