Justin Holder is the Manager of Content Development at RoboKind. He, like several others on the team, graduated from University of Texas at Dallas. He worked a number of retail jobs and had a short contract with Gearbox Software, before being brought on to the team. His first work with RoboKind was repairing the robots, but wasn’t what he wanted to do. He kept an eye out for ways that he could help the team and company grow. As Milo started to look more viable as an option that could help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Justin took on the task of managing the curriculum that Milo delivers.
“It was something that needed to be done, and everybody else had their hands full.”
Designing behavioral lesson plans for children with ASD
Before RoboKind, Justin did not have any experience with developing lesson plans for children. His first challenge was to understand the needs of the children and the therapist working with them. Justin and his team made it a priority to understand the needs of ASD learners, how best to deliver lessons and make adjustments, so ASD learners were not taught incorrect information. Working with experts, the team fine-tuned Milo’s curriculum.
“I just kind of put my nose to the grindstone and learned as I went. As we brought in more experts, I just continuously asked more and more questions to try and learn what was going on, so that we weren’t messing anything up.”
Justin’s ‘WOW’ Moment
RoboKind wants their team of developers to understand the impact Milo has on children with Autism. They encourage their employees to visit some of the research sites that Milo is at and see what a difference their work can make. During his visits to the Autism Treatment Center, Justin saw the growth of one student named Jackson. Many children with ASD are non-verbal and suffer meltdowns due to how their brain receives unfiltered information. Through Milo’s curriculum, children with ASD learn how to express themselves and regulate their behavior.
“To know where he started and then see the progress in person, and then the progress that I saw afterward from some of those news interviews with him was really great.”
Justin’s future plans
RoboKind is preparing to launch Robots4Stem (R4S), a project that will teach children the basics of computer science. Justin and his team are working to ensure that courses offered through R4S are comprehensive for a broad range of ages and experience. On Robots4Autism, Justin is modifying certain lesson plans based on feedback received from schools that already have Milo as a teacher’s assistant.