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Samsung Helps Autistic Families with Look at Me App & Project
By: Jennifer Graber
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Any individual with an autistic loved one knows potential struggles lie ahead in their lifetime. I imagine being in an autistic family can be equated to trying to place a square peg in a round hole. The plight of an autistic family is taking a perfectly wonderful individual, who is just a bit different, and raising him or her up against societal norms. As if all that was not challenging enough, there are the hurdles that they face within their own familial unit. One of the challenges that is faced is the act of communication. Communication is complex; even more so for someone who is autistic. Well, Samsung is setting out to help with that.
Samsung has released an app called “Look at Me.” The new app is designed to assist autistic individuals in improving their communication skills by making better eye contact with others. Look at Me features content developed by cognitive and general psychologists, as well as psychiatrists. Additionally, the Samsung app underwent “clinical testing to verify its effectiveness through research.” Approximately 60% of participants in the clinical testing saw marked improvement in eye contact with others.
To use Look at Me, the autistic individual must interact with his or her parent. This is paramount for success with this app. That is because the interaction allows for the development of “positive relationships and connections.” It helps to rewire the way the individual’s brain works. But it is really much more than that. Look at Me uses technology to provide the opportunity to give back relationships, and to reawaken a bond between parent and child. Family is no longer a group of strangers. A sense of normalcy begins to form for someone who might not experience it otherwise. In fact, you can view a short film created by Samsung that displays the positive, encouraging potential that Look at Me harnesses.
The interaction in Look at Me is developed through “themed missions” and is tracked by points. The children are also positively reinforced through sounds and visuals. In the app, the missions and activities include things such as learning to read moods, taking photos of themselves with various emotions, taking photos in various poses, and more.  The recommended usage is 15 to 20 minutes daily for best possible results, and parents are able to follow their child’s results via a special control panel within the app.
Samsung continues doing great things with Look at Me by starting a philanthropic project of the same name. The tech company partnered with Autism Speaks Canada to provide 200 free Samsung Galaxy Tab Ss preloaded with the Look at Me app. The goal of the Look at Me Project is to establish positive relationships and connections in families with autistic children. After all, autistic children think and are wired differently, so why not approach their learning and development differently? To find out more, or to apply for a tablet, you can visit their website.
We all have heard about the horrible things technology can do. How many times have we heard that the kids today are ruined by their iPhones and gaming systems? How many times have we heard the older generation say that they did not have a smartphone at that age, they had a stick? Now, to some extent, all that may be true. But what Samsung is doing is showing that technology is not necessarily a bad thing for children. In fact, it can make strides where none have been made before. I believe this is really just the beginning for Samsung, Look at Me, and the Look at Me Project. Great things are sure to follow.

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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