Socastee Elementary shows off robot designed to help children with autism

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A robot designed to help children with autism practice their communication and social skills was on display at Socastee Elementary school today.

“Hi — I’m Milo. It’s great to meet you. Let me show you some fun things I can do,” the small robot said during the demonstration, complete with lip movement.

Last month, the South Carolina Department of Education announced that 15 school districts across the state, including some in our area, will start using Milo the Robot in a pilot program this month.

Milo teaches elementary and middle school age students social communication skills and demonstrates appropriate social behavior through its responses.

The district said it’s about so much more than just Milo’s addition to the schools.

“You know – Milo is only one piece of this total project,” said Kristin Wilson, Executive Director of Federal Programs. “There is a very specific and direct curriculum that’s used with the students. This is the engaging and the interesting piece, but the research behind it is not only the use of the humanoid robot, but also what we know about the instruction that needs to take place for students on the autism spectrum.”

The districts in our area participating in the pilot program are Florence One, Horry and Marion. The South Carolina Department of Education said they expect to spend between $250,000 and $300,000 to test the program over three years.

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