Update on Popchilla for Autism Therapy
As you may remember from our earlier post, last fall we received a MicroSpark grant to explore using Popchilla as an autism therapy tool. The resulting pilot program involved a dozen Pittsburgh area families and two local Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) organizations – the Autism Center of Pittsburgh and Community Alternatives.
As part of the project, we created an iPad app designed to let therapists and parents guide Popchilla through a variety of activities that help children practice their social referencing skills. The activities were determined based on suggestions from our therapists and feedback from participants’ parents, and focused on recognizing emotions, responding to directives, social play and verbalization. You can see a video of this prototype iPad app below:
This pilot program ran from September to December of 2010. Although this was a very short program, the response from the participating families was very positive. We’re currently working on raising some money to fund additional studies and a small run of Popchillas. Our plan is to bundle these robots with a commercial version of the iPad app, and make them available to the home therapy market.
We’re also putting the finishing touches on an iPad app for children with ASD that contains a simple version of the activities used in the pilot program – no robot required. We’ll be sure to let you know when it is available in the app store.
If you have a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, we would like to know how you use technology to address your child’s needs. Please consider filling out our autism technology survey. If you know someone else who has a child with ASD, please feel free to forward the survey along to them.
- iPad app – Touch & Say
- Touch & Say Now Available for iPhone
- Popchilla gets a Spark Project!
- Popchilla in the Press!
- Video: Let’s Make Shapes – with robot
Tags: ASD, Autism, iPad, Popchilla