Animated Language Learning, run by Irishman Enda Dodd, is developing technology that uses Disney and Pixar movies to help educate children with autism and language learning disorders.
The Ireland-based company is set to create 100 jobs, creating this technology that could improve the lives of these children and help them communication with the world around them.
Dodd told TheJournal.ie “People who are diagnosed as autistic or with language disorders are highly intelligent individuals – they can see the structure of things and organise visual thought and idea much like an architect or a surgeon.
“Their problem is that they lack language so they can’t communicate this.”
Dodd was inspired to create this technology by his two sons, Eoin and Conor, who are both autistic.
He said “When I looked at my own two children at four and five-years-old it looked like they could need institutionalisation.
“They were so severe that we had to go to California to find a solution.”
Dodd worked with researchers in California on trials to test the technology and his own children took part in the first case study.
The technology remixes Disney and Pixar movies to help children associate visualisations with language.
He explained “What we do is we break the movies into short segments of 40 or 50 seconds with some event or concept.
“In Toy Story, it could be as simple as Andy playing with his toys or as complex as Woody pushing Buzz out the window and what happens after that. Children understand almost intuitively what has happened.”
He continued “We then connect text to those films so children learn how to label emotions, actions, names of characters. These children who range in age from three to 16 are basically building literacy around very complex concepts. As they build the literacy and reading and writing, speech attaches to that.”
His own sons are doing well. Dodd told TheJournal the boys, aged 16, are doing well. He said “We see the path forward and we know what we need to be doing with them to provide them with what they need.”
For more information visit Animated Language Learning website.