Students with autism learn social skills with R2-D2

AUSTIN -- Fifth-grade students at Blazier Elementary School in Southeast Austin are learning social skills through technology.

The students are part of the school's SCORES program, which stands for Social Communication and Resource services, for children with autism. Over the past few months, they created a fully operational R2-D2 replica robot thanks to their teacher, Caleb Zammit.

"The main focus was just learning to work as a group, and how to get along and use their manners when working on a big project all together," said Zammit.

They are also learning about motors, batteries, measurements, power tools and metal.

"The best part of my day is having fun with my friends and building R2-D2," said Mathew Fan, a student at Blazier Elementary.

"It's pretty fantastic and I'm proud of it," said Raquel Gonzales, a student at Blazier.

Zammit spent three years making the robot parts from scratch.

"For the legs, I sculpted them in clay and cast them in fiberglass after making a silicone mold," said Zammit. "For the head, we made a barbecue pit that we cut all up and painted."

Zammit is no stranger to using toys to help children. He is an autism specialist who is also building Austin's first toy museum. One of the goals of the museum is to work with kids, helping them learn social skills through play. You can read more about it here.


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