Parents and therapists of children with special needs often struggle to help them engage and make progress. Leka is a multi-sensory robotic ball that uses lights, sounds, and vibrations to engage children while also tracking their progress.
Autism is actually a term that encompasses a number of complex disorders of brain development. Children who live with autism, often find themselves overwhelmed by the world and people around them and have difficulty with social interaction. Autism affects over 3 million people in the US alone and until recent years, the cause of autism was still just as much a mystery as how to treat it. Structured therapy, consisting of social development and interactive play, has been one of the most successful treatments employed to help autistic children grow. This is where Leka comes in.
Leka combines interactive play with educational reinforcers that parents and educators use to teach autistic children how to interact with the world around them. Leka is a highly versatile toy that provides a unique experience for each child to accommodate for the unique nature of autism in individual children. Equipped with a number of sensors, Leka can detect a child’s interaction and responds using preprogrammed behaviors. This enforces repetition in a way that doesn’t hinder the child’s sense of security. By employing soothing vibrations and relaxing colors, Leka can also be very helpful in calming down an autistic child when they have been stressed or agitated. Along with its autonomous interactions, Leka also features an app based remote control and several games. The traveling Leka game has the child pick up leka and carry it to a sheet of paper that matches the color that Leka is displaying. Picture bingo calls for the child to grab and item that matches the item displayed on Leka’s face screen. There’s even a hide and go seek game. Leka can also function as a night light and an alarm clock. Perhaps its most important function, however, is Leka's ability to bring joy to children who are learning to overcome the obstacles that autism presents them with.
The project has been in research and development for several years and was first presented on Indie Go-Go since April 2016. Leka has been tested with over 100 children in both the US and France.
A team of researchers, engineers and autism specialists created this adorable little toy to help stimulate the child’s autonomy and help to reduce their anxiety. Pre-orders are still being made for this little guy in anticipation for its release in November 2017. Be sure to share this post with others to help spread the word about this little guy to anyone that has or works with an autistic child.
Special thanks to Marine Couteau, Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer of the Leka project, for providing us with some insight on this exceptional toy. To pre-order Leka or help with the continued funding, click here indiegogo.com. I'm definitely a fan already, how about you? Let us know what you think about Leka in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe to yagoli.com