Robots For Children With Special Needs

Robots For Children With Special Needs

Robots For Children With Special Needs

As per recent research, it is found that one in 160 children across the world suffers from ASD (Autism spectrum disorder).

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong mental health disability that occurs when the child is young and it interferes with the daily functioning of that individual. The symptoms and degree of complexity may vary from child to child, however, there are certain common characteristics or unique traits associated with ASD. This lifelong disorder impacts the person’s social skills, communication skills, and ability to form meaningful relationships. Some of the symptoms include;

  • Unusual facial expression and gestures, also avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of interest in sharing or communicating with others
  • Prefers to be detached, alone, and in one’s own world
  • Finding it hard to understand other person’s point of view
  • Resists being touched • Speaking or humming in a specific rhythmic tone
  • Repetitive body movements (shaking arms, legs, flapping)
  • Clumsiness and awkward behavior
  • Has an exaggerated reaction to certain sounds & smells

Robots for Special Needs

Special children, feel lonely and can’t easily make friends in school. Living with autism can severely affect the child’s academic performance and leave them in a state of despair. Thanks to the advancement of technology in the UAE & all across the world, there are robots that are specifically built to support therapy and education for children with intellectual disabilities, including autism.

Social robots are programmed to express emotions and empathy which helps the child with special needs feel comfortable and thereby make the robot his/her ‘friend’. Children confide in their new buddy and return to the robot for help with academic tasks, while seeking emotional support.

These robots have a human-like design and a pleasant voice to tirelessly interact with the child, without passing any judgments or derogatory remarks. It even helps reduce anxiety & stress to a great extent.

Here are some popular Social Robots already available in the market:

NAO Robot

This is a fully-programmable humanoid robot that has performed wonders in the education space, for the special needs community. NAO has a human figure and its arms & legs function impressively, to captivate the attention of children & adults. Schools can integrate the curriculum into the robot’s software, to provide teaching aids to children who need extra help. Its operations are made-to-measure using NAOqi OS.

Misty II

Misty is a smart robot that is built to coach and deliver life skills to students. It has become a daily living companion and delivers academic content to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other special needs. Students quickly develop a bond with Misty and playfully engage in content that is of educative purpose. Most IB Schools in Dubai & GCC Regions, across the Middle East, who follow the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) approach, take the help of Misty II as it features STEM-augmenting accessories, apps, and content to enhance STEM education.

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Kebbi is an Educative Robot that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to make it more humanly, and less machine-like. Its intelligent software and hardware are designed to enable KEBBI to respond to facial expressions and body language as if one were communicating with a human being. It delivers personalized lessons to students and works well in the home & school environment. Its friendly personality provides heartwarming moments and enhances the educational experience manifold.

IPal Robot

This robot delivers educational content with its in-built WOZ Teacher’s Aid System through a robotic solution that enables capturing children’s attention and is especially beneficial to those with special needs like autism. The touch screen on its body can be used to display images and educational content, in an engaging manner, making the learning process more interactive. 

It’s time to unlock your child’s hidden potential, even if it means taking help of the above-mentioned robots. We are sure your little ones will bloom with special attention from their ‘bot friends’. As the saying goes, ‘If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.’ – Dr. Ole Ivar Løvaas

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Going Beyond Rote Learning: Improving Conceptual Fluency In Math

Going Beyond Rote Learning: Improving Conceptual Fluency In Math

Going Beyond Rote Learning: Improving Conceptual Fluency In Math

Students often develop Math anxiety which is frightening and takes the joy out of learning. Fear of the subject keeps children away from practicing math, leave aside giving it their hundred percent. The fact doesn’t change that Math is required in our day-to-day lives. Budgeting household expenditure requires math, cooking requires estimation of ingredients used for preparation, animation & designing require knowledge of angles & shapes, and even coding involves some logical acumen.

Rote Learning

Math When formulae seem tough to decipher and equations are too complex to apply, children resort to rote learning techniques. Learning tables do require some rote learning skills, but the same can’t be applied to other operations. It’s impossible to mug up the answer and reproduce it in exams, as in math the questions need to be understood first, then one needs to apply problem-solving acumen, and attempt it logically in a step-by-step manner. Especially when it comes to dealing with word problems, students will need to have a robust conceptual understanding.

Developing Conceptual Understanding in Math

It’s important to first encourage children to feel more positive towards the subject. Only when learners find some benefit behind studying the subject, do they actually start to appreciate it.

#1 Build Confidence

Having faith and believing in oneself, is half a battle won. Building a strong foundation and someone to help through with the subject is the basis of developing a good hold of numbers. Educators need to be an accomplice not only in solving mathematical equations but give children the confidence to pursue wholeheartedly. The fear of getting the answer wrong, leading to frustration is quite normal, but the attitude of ‘not giving up’ and ‘continuous efforts need to be inculcated.

#2 Getting Involved

‘Learning – teaching’ is a two-way process. Simply solving sums on the board from the textbook is not only going to make math really boring but barely motivates kids to develop an interest in the subject. IB Schools across the globe, including Dubai & other GCC Countries, follow an inclusive learning process where the educator teaches children as per the interest and style of the class. This essentially means, making math learning ‘fun’. Be unconventional by getting children involved in playing math quizzes or get them to undertake group assignments & compete with other math geniuses in class. Ultimate students will come to like math and enjoy the process of learning.


#3 Gradual Pace of Learning

Not everyone cracks a difficult math equation in the first attempt! Start with smaller problems that have easy solutions and at a later stage increase difficulty. Gradual progression makes the child more confident in dealing with numbers. Give students ample time & opportunity to practice, recall, and apply the concept. Also, some students are fast learners in class, while others take their time to grasp. Therefore, accommodate the needs of all students and maybe pay extra attention to the slow learners by devoting time to help them after-class.

#4 Practice & Practice

Acing at math is all about practice, practice & more practice. The more you practice, the faster you will be able to solve sums and find shortcuts or tricks to find the solutions. Mental math usually requires a lot of repetition, in order to quickly calculate something like; x + 29 = 63, what is the value of ‘x’? But who says math homework can’t be fun? There are math-specific apps available for download on iOS and Android devices which entertain students while reinforcing math concepts taught in school. Some popular apps downloaded in UAE are; Maths Shed, Mathmateer, Mathseeds, Mathspace, etc.

To conclude, we would say it is important to focus on conceptual fluency in mathematics by developing the child’s critical thinking capabilities. A mindset of ‘why to solve and ‘how to solve’ must be ingrained, so that the learner is immersed in the solving process, rather than concentrating on the procedural complexities.

Mathspace brings together all learning touch-points together by offering video lessons, downloadable textbooks, and active practice, for the math learners. Students get instant feedback and are encouraged to practice solving problems on worksheets. This learning platform has a collection of over 50,000 worksheets and thus parents are pleased to adapt Mathspace over & above math lessons taught in schools across the Middle East & other regions of the world.

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Easy Steps For Solving Word Problems

Easy Steps For Solving Word Problems

Easy Steps For Solving Word Problems

Word problems are not straightforward where students can read a topic, ‘addition’ and then mechanically solve all sums under that category: 1 + 10, 50 + 140, 1000 + 1200, etc. There is no clear indication of a mathematical equation in a ‘word’ problem and the question doesn’t present itself in an easy solvable format. Probably that’s the reason why students are not too confident of dealing with math word problems and find excuses to skip that part in their exam paper. Often learners fail to see the ‘math’ behind word problems and thereby can’t figure which formula to apply.

Let’s show you how to approach word-problems in a step by step manner. Simply put these techniques to practice, and eliminate your fear of having to decode sentences into a solvable equation.

#1 Read The Problem

Comprehending the text, first require the student to read the problem multiple times, until he is clear of what needs to be done next. Often students are in a hurry and skip reading full sentences, thereby getting confused & make errors. One needs to word by word read aloud and try and understand the meaning behind important keywords.

For Example:

Tom has 24 chocolates, which is 7 lesser than his friend John. How many chocolates does John have?

Read this carefully a couple of times and you will discover keywords that denote a specific hidden meaning. Just by reading ‘lesser than’ doesn’t mean that 24 – 7 = 17 is the answer. If Tom has 7 chocolates lesser than John, then John has to have ‘more’ number of chocolates. Which means John has 24+7=31 chocolates. You see, to figure out the ‘hidden’ meanings, one needs to really take time to understand the wordings in the first place.

#2 Graphical Representation of Word Problem

Some students are comfortable solving a word problem by drawing pictures, rather than using mental math techniques. Drawing makes the ‘addition’ / ‘subtraction’ process easier, as one can strike out the items while counting and reduce the chance for errors. However, make sure you are considering all aspects of the problem while pictorially representing the equation.

#3 Break the Equation and Write Down Steps

It is always better to write down and list the details of a complex 4-5 lines word problem, to make things easier. Listing all the points down, ensures that you do not skip any detail and are able to correctly put things into perspective, before rushing to get the right answer. Make a rough column at the side of the exam paper and write down all bullet points that are important.

For Example:

There are two Ashoka trees in the forest. The tall Ashoka tree is 16 feet in height and the short tree is 6 feet shorter than the tall one. Tina has a ladder that is 14 feet in height. As compared to the taller tree, how short is the ladder.

  • Tall Ashoka Tree 16 feet height
  • Short Ashoka Tree 6 feet shorter than tall one (16 feet – 6 feet = 10 feet)
  • Ladder height is 14 feet
  • Ashoka tree is 16 feet and ladder is 14 feet
  • Ladder is shorter than the tall Ashoka tree by (16 feet – 14 feet = 2 feet)

#4 Construct a Formula

Translate the terms written in English into math symbols and create a formula or an equation which can be used to solve the sum.


  • Increased by (+)
  • Added together (+)
  • Comparatively smaller (-)
  • Twice as large (x2)
  • One portion of the pizza divided equally in 4 parts (1/4)

Teddy had 8 socks, now he is left with only 3. How many socks did Teddy give his sister Stella?

8 – x = 3

8 – 3= x

5 = x

Verify: 8 – 5 = 3

Answer: Teddy gave 5 socks to Stella.

Practice the above steps to simplify the word problems, before solving them. The more your child practices, the better he will get at it and would be able to attempt it faster in the exam paper. Wondering where you would find readymade practice math word problems? Try out Mastheads – Real learning, real math, real fun! Mathseeds is trusted teachers with a satisfaction score of 8.9 out of 10 and is loved by students with a high rating of 9.2 out of 10. Even in Dubai and all-over Middle East, Mathseeds is a go-to for Math learners in R – years of schooling. The platform introduces kids to interesting characters and motivates them by gifting them golden acorns.

Get your Mathseeds trial in GCC region, including UAE, by visiting our website

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One Step Closer To Nature: A Collection Of Books for Kids

One Step Closer To Nature: A Collection Of Books for Kids

One Step Closer To Nature – A Collection Of Books for Kids

Nature is all around us and our very existence depends on nature. The plants around us in the gardens, the soil we play with, vast oceans, hills, valleys, and all kinds of animal species, are components of nature. Mother Earth is filled with beauty and it is our responsibility to take care of it. Just as nature gives us so much food & fresh air, we need to be grateful for its gifts.

Children are taught about nature in preschool. In fact, it is now that they spend the most time outdoors and don’t mind getting dirty in sand making castles & smelling sweet flower fragrances. As a parent or school teacher, inculcating a ‘love for nature’ and teaching children how to ‘preserve natural resources’ goes a long way. We suggest you introduce students to these books on nature and let them enjoy glancing through.

#1 Night Animals – by Gianna Marino

This is a bedtime classic, and your kids are sure to drift off to fond memories, post-story-time. It is a light-hearted book where night campers go trekking and hear sounds of all sorts of creatures, only to find out that animals living in these forests are actually scared of the intruders into their territory. Children get introduced to possum, wolf, bear, skunk, bat, and other interesting animals & birds, through the book.

#2 Up In The Garden Down In The Dirt – by Kate Messner

This book reveals interesting insights about the mischief that goes on under the surface of the earth. Earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and other creatures unintentionally helping the farmer yield a crop. Isn’t that fascinating? We bet you wouldn’t have guessed how your tomatoes are so plump or how pees grew to full size under their pods. Pick up this book right away and learn more about the activity that lies between the stalks & roots, deep down under the ground.

#3 We are Water Protectors – by Carole Lindstrom

A young girl and her grandmother walk by a river in their neighborhood often and talk about how beautiful the free-flowing river water is. Time & again, the little one exclaims how she loves admiring the river and says ‘water is our first medicine’ and that ‘we all come from water’. As time goes by one day the young girl spots ‘a black snake – oil pipeline’ and is disturbed by the sight of it. Oh, what a threat to her community and animals! The black snake represents ‘oil pipelines’ being built on Native land in America. The book pictorially depicts how numerous movements are thereby undertaken by ‘Water Protectors’ in the West to raise concerns regarding safeguarding Earth & its waters.

#4 Our World in Pictures: Trees, Leaves, Flowers & Seeds – by Chris Clennett

Learn all that you have to about the plant anatomy- trees, flowers, seeds, fruits, etc. What part of the plant is edible and what isn’t? Find out about the unique characteristics of plants. Which plant eats insects? How do cacti survive in the desert? Which flower looks like a monkey face? The book has over 1,000 attractive images of strange plants, as well as common ones. It’s a must-read for your little kiddos, as this book is sure to get them excited and wanting to learn more.

#5 The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Narrated by the famous author ‘Eric Carle’, The Tiny Seed, is a story of a ‘seed’ and how it travels far and wide across rivers, oceans, mountains, deserts before it finally finds a perfect spot to settle down. Once settled, it grows into a tree & blooms into a flower thereafter. The book subtly talks about the entire lifecycle of a seed. From a seedling to a flower that dispels seeds and these new seeds waiting to find their destiny to uncover.

#6 Everything Spring This one’s a National Geographic bestseller

Children learn all that they need to about ‘spring season’ through superb pictures that bring a cheery smile to their faces. Smell the fresh scent of flowers and bask in the sunlight, as you turn page by page of this book. A time of perfect merriment for animals, birds, and even us humans!

It’s always wise to inculcate a habit of reading good books at a young age. Start with simple stories that use illustrations to depict the essence, and then gradually advance to ones that focus on good literature to improve the child’s vocabulary. Reading Eggs is an amazing E-Reading platform, preferred by most moms and educators in Dubai – UAE, and other countries across the world. Reading Eggs provides ample opportunity to kids to explore books on various genres, undertake post-reading activities, and track their progress.

In this emerging digitalization world, Reading Eggs is a suitable alternative to hardcover books, as children can easily access 100’s of books on ‘nature’ from their iPads & Phones. To get access to Reading Eggs in GCC or anywhere in the Middle East, visit our website: <link>

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Interesting Memory Games For Kids: Improve Concentration and Retention

Interesting Memory Games For Kids: Improve Concentration and Retention

Interesting Memory Games For Kids – Improve Concentration and Retention

Going to school and absorbing all that was taught in class, requires the child to develop focused concentration, listening skills, and retention capacity. We’ve heard that practice makes a man perfect, and so the key to ‘acing’ it in academics, begins with a little practice at home. Memory games are a great way to help children develop concentration and keep them busy productively at home. Instead of Googling numerous ideas of memory games to play with your kiddies, here’s a comprehensive list that we have compiled for you;

Matching Pictures

This is probably the most favorite game amongst children. To begin with, take a pack of flashcards and ensure each image has its corresponding matching pair. You can download printable flashcards according to a theme; summer fruits, spring flowers, wild animals, etc. Make sure that cards are placed on a mat with the ‘image’ facing downwards. Ask the child to randomly pick up two cards from the spread and turn them over. If the two cards ‘match’ then pick them up and keep it aside. If they don’t match, flip the cards with the ‘picture side’ downwards again, and repeat this exercise until all matching pairs are found. The idea is to remember the placement of the cards and where their match was located.


Guess the Missing Item

Take a large tub and fill it up with some household items. You could get anything that is readily available at home like; a spoon, book, cup, toy car, pencil, etc. Take about 10-12 items to make the game more challenging. However, if your kiddo is just 3 – 4 years old, restrict yourself from choosing 5-6 simple items only. Place all the items in the tub and let the participant observe them for 10 minutes. Now cover the tub and ask the child to look away. Gently remove one item from the tub and hide it from anyone’s sight. Uncover and let the child guess which item is missing. Repeat this activity, until all the missing items are guessed correctly. Applaud the efforts, and congratulate your child later.


Shuffling the Cups

This is a classic game, that you must have played as a child. Take three identical paper cups and place pom-pom balls under one cup. Now shuffle the cups randomly. Pick up the cup under which there are pom-poms and ask the child to keep an eye on that one. Shuffle again and this time, ask the participant to choose the cup – which had the pom-poms. If the child guesses it correctly, appreciate his efforts. If not, try again until the pom-poms are found.


Memory Train

This is a group activity to be played in class. The game starts when the first child says ‘I am going to the market to buy….’. The child has to name any item that he wishes to purchase, for example; an apple. Now the next child introduces one more item and has to remember the item already bought by his friend in the previous turn. The second student says; ‘I am going to the market to purchase apple and pasta’. The third child continues; ‘I am going to the market to purchase an apple, pasta, and chocolate’. The idea is to remember and reproduce the sequence of items in the exact same manner, as it was revealed.


Spot the Difference

If you have a subscription to a magazine or newspaper for kids, you would be acquainted with the ‘spot the difference’ game section. There are two identical pictures, however, in one image, there might be elements that are missing or different. For example, One picture might have a photo frame missing, the color of the cushion may be different, or the pattern on the wall may be slightly non-identical. Between the two images, there could be 7-9 differences, that the child is required to spot. It seems pretty easy, but do not fooled! Concentrating and identifying the minutest error requires an ‘eye for detailing’ and thus helps in developing the child’s attention skills.

We are certain by choosing the above memory games, your kids will have lots of fun. They also learn to form meaningful connections with their peers and enhance their communication skills, memory power, concentration, and much more.

If you are looking for ideas related to specific Math related games; check out the Mathletics Platform. Mathletics is present in 110 countries across the globe and its popularity in Dubai in the Middle East is growing by the day. Mathletics has games for children 2 years to 16 years and includes interesting activities such as; Multiverse, Play Paws, Magic Mentors, Numbeanies, amongst others. If you belong to GCC or anywhere in the UAE, do check out Mathletics.

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