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Dr. Chris’ Autism Journal
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Meet Timo!


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timo.jpgTimo is a friendly animated tutor who helps children with autism, hearing impairments, developmental delays and other language problems to learn communication, conversation and reading in fun computer programs.  Animated Speech’s software is designed to give speech pathologists, educators and parents who work with these children an important new tool to build comprehension and vocabulary skills.

baldi.jpgThe initial concept for Timo was developed by Dr. Dom Massaro and Dr. Michael Cohen with a grant from the National Science Foundation.  Originally, Timo was called Baldi, and the once university lab project soon became a commercially available product.  Dan Feschbach, the company’s CEO, has grown the company and they now have 3 products available for varying levels of language learning. 

Team Up With Timo: Vocabulary teaches identification, comprehension, and expression of more than 650 woridScreenSection.jpgds including animals, human body, weather and much more.  The program offers pre and post tests for assessing progress and has 6 other levels of learning to teach the vocabulary.  The unique aspect of this program is Timo, who engages the child in conversation using the child’s own name!  The child’s voice can also be recorded so that the child’s parents and other team members can review it after the child’s session.  Rewards are given in response to correct answers and include a large variety of brief animations.  This program has many options for customization and is best for early language learners through about 4th grade vocabulary.

library.pngIf you are looking for more customization, ASC also offers Team Up With Timo: Lesson Creator.  In this program, teachers and professionals and create custom vocabulary and language lessons for the child to do on the computer.  You can use any pictures you want including the ones in the Timo vault, or upload your own.  This is an excellent way to build individualized, personalized lessons for your child.  index5_04.png

For older children or for children who have more language skills, they have Team Up With Timo: Stories, designed by Dr. Lauren Franke and Pamela Connors, speech-language experts.  This program teaches listening skills, comprehension, vocabulary, retelling stories, and reading skills.  Research has shown that being able to retell a story at age 4 is predictive of later success in school.  Storytelling also helps children participate in daily life with friends, family and school.  This program is based on research in language development and uses the Narrative-based language intervention (NBLI) approach that combines storytelling with skill-based activities.   

Timo products are available online and a free trial is provided.

 

 

Top Autism Treatments


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In a recent About: Autism Spectrum Disorders posting, the top 10 treatment approaches for autism were listed along with helpful links for each of these approaches.  The top 10 were determined by popularity, research, and most effective overall.

The top 10 listed were:100_0152.JPG

1) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

2) Speech Therapy

3) Occupational Therapy

4) Social Skills TherapyB and Trish.jpg

5) Physical Therapy

6) Play Therapy

7) Behavior Therapy/Positive Behavior Support

8) Developmental TherapiesEl 1.jpg

9) Visually-based Therapies

10) Biomedical Therapies

I would like to see a similar list, in order, of those that are the most research-based and have evidence of effectiveness with the largest number of children with autism.  Organizations such as the National Autism Center are dedicated to coming up with good ways to make these kinds of lists and to develop rankings for treatment approaches which will be based on research and effectiveness for ASD.  This project is called the National Standards Project and the expert panel and conceptual reviewers include a prestigious group of autism researchers including several of our TeachTown science advisory board members including Dr. Ilene Schwartz, Dr. William Frea, and Dr. Aubyn Stahmer.

J computer.jpgI would also like to see more studies on technology and which programs are effective and which ones are not.  It won’t be long before Computer-Assisted Instruction is added to the list above, I just hope that developers, and perhaps more importantly, university researchers continue to conduct the necessary research to keep improving these programs.

**Please see comments from the author of the ABOUT blog, she makes some excellent comments and I completely agree with her!**

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