Interactive robot helps students with autism in Spartanburg Scho - FOX Carolina 21

Interactive robot helps students with autism in Spartanburg School District 2

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Milo the robot helps students practice social skills. Milo the robot helps students practice social skills.
CHESNEE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Spartanburg School District 2 students have a new classmate this year. His name is Milo and he's a robot.

Milo is designed to help children with autism practice social skills. Teachers told Fox Carolina News even though it's only one week into the new school year, they're already seeing the benefits.

Milo has special skills to give students across the autism spectrum a unique learning experience.

"Sometimes students with autism have difficulty communicating, making eye contact, understanding emotions and reading emotions," explained Fran Metta, the Director of Special Services at Spartanburg School District 2.

Metta said students can feel more calm when working with Milo.

"Milo can provide this safe, different way to allow them to practice these skills so that they might not feel the same anxiety that they might experience when they're talking to a person like you or I," said Metta.

He has a wide variety of expressions and can move his arms and legs. He also loves to dance. Milo is part of daily classroom activity. Students use iPads to do interactive lessons with him.

"I've seen the benefits already of Milo. One of my students diagnosed with autism, he has a very difficult time attending to a task and staying focused. With Milo, he stayed focused because he was so interested," said Charity Jolley, a Rainbow Lake Middle School Teacher.

District 2 leaders became interested in Milo recently. When they saw the results district 7 had, they knew Milo had to be part of the family. They used a federal grant to pay around $18,000 for two robots.

"We're just always looking for innovative ways to make sue we have the most current, research-based strategies in place to support our students with special needs," said Metta.

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