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MILO Bear Helps Children Learn to Communicate


MILO Bear, an educational toy for children with special needs, uses Gardner's eight intelligences to help children build communication skills.

the milo backpack kitA Multiple Intelligence Learning Opportunity—MILO—bear is an educational tool created for kids with special needs. MILO is a plush toy bear that was created by Jennifer Baldi, a speech-language pathologist. It is designed for children ages 3 and older to help them communicate. The bear has eight pockets that correspond to Gardner’s eight intelligences—nature, world, music, people, math, body, picture, and self. The strategy is that the child sees a picture on the pocket with a toy inside and needs to communicate to get that toy.

By observing a child play with MILO, a therapist can see his or her strengths and focus on addressing communication weaknesses. Therapists can also use MILO as a tool to train parents to carry the skills learned in the session to their home. MILO not only helps engage children with new lessons, but also gives them a structured learning environment to improve.

“MILO encourages parents and teachers to use this information to develop skills and to be a part of the learning process,” Baldi says. “MILO gives children choices, which creates an opportunity for them to communicate. Most importantly, MILO is fun!”

MILO comes with a backpack that includes eight toy and activity bags that correspond to the pockets, activity cards with suggested play strategies and encouragement ideas for the toys, and the book Playtime with MILO, which shows children how MILO plays with the toys.

 

Author: Sarah Buckwald is a summer 2013 editorial intern with NYMetroParents. See More

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