Robots4Autism wins start-up contest

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A Texas start-up specialising in social robotics and autism intervention has been named winner of a major entrepreneurial competition

Robokind was chosen from more than 600 companies as the winner of the North American Startup Contest run by the Tsinghua Entrepreneur and Executive Club Angel Fund (TEEC) and the US-China Association of High-level Professionals.

The TEEC North America Startup Contest is the largest of its kind for entrepreneurs in the US. Its purpose is to support entrepreneurs and start-ups in accelerating technological innovation and expanding their businesses by garnering the interest of US and Chinese investors.

Robokind was selected because of its research-based Robots4Autism curriculum, delivered by Milo, a two-foot humanoid robot. Milo teaches children on the autism spectrum social and emotional skills by exposing them to consistent and repeated behaviour modelling and emotion recognition tasks.

Developed by researchers at the University of Texas Dallas, Robots4Autism has been shown to elicit high-levels of engagement among children with autism during therapy sessions.

The RoboKind team is dedicated to advancing the quality of instruction for children with autism while reducing the cost of high-quality, personalised instruction. Earning the title as the top start-up company in North America is a testament to our progression in the growing field of autism intervention.

Said Fred Margolin, CEO and co-founder of RoboKind.

As the prevalence of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the US continues to increase, schools and districts are seeking to meet the needs of this growing student population.

Our school uses Milo and the Robots4Autism curriculum with students with autism as a new way to introduce them to skills they are working on in the classroom. I’m working with a five-year-old student who struggled with greetings and is now encouraged to initiate conversation with Milo.

Said Kim Speer, an autism specialist at McCarthy Teszler School in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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