Saturday, April 21, 2018

How Four Companies from Four Countries Forged The Powerful Robot-mediated Behavior Intervention Solution Platform for autism.

This week was a landscape changing moment for the advancement of Robot-mediated Behavior Intervention for autism. Three years ago, I discovered that as nation we faced an epidemic in the growth of the number of children impacted with autism. Like many others I thought of autism as only a childhood disease. As I learned more, I came to understand the impact that autism has on the entire lives of children and their families.  And, that these ‘children’ must face the challenge of learning the skills needed to become a self-sufficient, independent adult.  I came to understand that autism is not a disease and that it is a human condition. I have been continually motivated by the dedication of the many therapists, school teachers and parents that I have met along the way.  I decided to see if and what role technology might play in helping meet the challenges.

In my opinion there exists an abundance of researchers and clinicians that contribute mightily to the ‘science’ of diagnosis and care strategies. What I felt was missing was a strategy for those delivering the care. What was currently being done was not sufficiently scalable to meet the rapidly escalating need. The growing volume of the requirements for care are over-whelming the existing care giving resource model. This is true on multiple fronts. Trained care givers are growing in short supply in proportion to the need. Institutions are unable to subsidize the increasing costs of professional care delivery. The medical re-imbursement and insurance systems are playing catch-up while families struggle to afford early diagnosis and arrange early care. Early care being one of the best mediations.
Even on the corporate front the recognition that a new model is needed is growing. 

Corporate programs are starting to emerge. If employing individuals on the autism spectrum is becoming a need and a value- based element of corporate and community responsibility, then special educational and training programs are needed to guide managers and create successful management policies that positively embrace employees with autism in their employee base.

So, the framework of a structural response by and with technology started to reveal itself. I called it the 1-2-3 model and I searched the world to build it.

One. From Japan, I landed upon the use of the NAO social robot from SoftBank Robotics to deliver robot-based mediated behavior interventions. The NAO robot was engaging to many children with autism. The robots were in many circumstances, calming. They were non-threatening. They didn’t tire. They didn’t grow or convey frustration. They could be made to deliver sessions customized to the needs and conditions of an individual child. And, they worked!

Two. The next step was to find a robot-based system that could be operated by non-technical personnel in a common school classroom. That has now been accomplished with askNAO a computer tablet-based system from ERM Robotique in France that easily and quickly connects to the robot and with ‘one touch icons’ be made to deliver an intervention session.

Three. A comprehensive autism therapy practice management system was needed to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and lower the cost of therapy practice operations and care delivery. Integration with the robot and the behaviors was needed. That is now available with TN ActiveCare from Canadian Company TN NORTH.

So here we are ChartaCloud ROBOTTECA in the U.S. now deploying, installing and training end users on a platform that can deliver results in autism therapies, expand delivery resource capacity and lower delivery costs.

I call what has happened - landscape changing. If you would like to learn more about the detailed elements of this platform please message me at I’d be happy to send you a detailed solution brief.

Mike Radice is Chairman of the Technology Advisory Board of ChartaCloud | ROBOTTECA