Movia rolls out new robot assistants for children with autism


Movia is looking to use robots paired with software to help children with autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities learn new skills. 

Its TheraPal Home and TheraPal Clinical Assist Aides are aimed at improving children’s social and emotional development, and helping them learn life skills through robotic-assisted interventions that provide applied behavior analysis and other techniques. Children can access modules for cognitive training, communication training and educational learning. Robotics can help kids practice social skills, as well as provide educational content like reading comprehension, basic math and auditory processing learning. 

Clinicians and parents can use TheraPal Progress to collect data on a child’s progress. As part of this launch, the Connecticut-based company registered the technology with the FDA. 

“By using robots that engage and interact with kids, we are able to get kids with autism to respond more readily. Robots seem friendlier, less judgmental than human beings; they seem safer, so the children are able to explore more, develop their confidence and have more control all while learning skills to help them be successful in their daily lives,” Timothy Gifford, founder of Movia, said in a video about the technology. 


Rates of autism have increased over the last few decades, according to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The CDC reports that 1 in 44 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Roughly 17% of children ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with a developmental disability, which includes autism, ADHD, a learning disability or any developmental delay. 


Today, several digital health companies are looking to support individuals with autism and other developmental disorders through technical tools. Pediatric behavioral health company Brightline announced that it would launch a new program for children with autism spectrum disorder in 2022. The service will include video visits as well as on-demand resources. 

In 2021, Cognoa landed an FDA De Novo classification for its autism spectrum disorder (ASD) software diagnostic aid, Canvas Dx. Others creating tools for individuals with autism include Springtide, which scored $18.1 million in 2020, Mightier and Sprouts


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