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SAMSUNG RELEASES LOOK AT ME AUTISM APP

Look At Me, which is now available on Google Play, was developed by doctors and professors from Seoul National University Bundag Hospital and Yonsei University Department of Psychology. The app uses photos, facial recognition tech, and a series of games to help kids read emotions and communicate with other people. The team behind Look At Me conducted a clinical trial with 20 children for eight weeks, and claim that 60 percent of kids tested showed improvement in making eye contact.
Reading this story, I’m reminded of my years with the preschoolers while working for the school district. Much of my time was spent with children on the autism spectrum, and I was trained in several teaching methodologies created specifically for the autistic. The “look at me” prompt is a cornerstone of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which is a key part of the curriculum in autism-only classrooms. More than anything, the “look at me” prompt is what I remember about doing ABA with my students, because it’s the first thing you say to grab attention and introduce an activity. …
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‘LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION’

Chris Breen delivers a eulogy of sorts for his laid-off Macworld comrades:
All the people I’ve mentioned are enthralled with technology—they wouldn’t do what they do otherwise. But I don’t think I’m going too far in saying that were you to ask them to describe their professional life in one word they’d reply “Writer.”

These people love language and using it to convey sometimes arcane ideas and procedures. Because they do, they are careful with the words they use and the way they’re arranged. These words and the ideas behind them are issued with intent—to help with understanding, to entertain, to instill insight.

In a world where it’s easy to get attention through raving, snark, and the overuse of punctuation, this is a rare skill. I hope those of you in the position to do so will honor that skill by allowing these voices to be heard.
As I mentioned in this post, I had the great fortune to be able to work with a few people on Breen’s list when contributing to Macworld. Of those mentioned, I worked closest (i.e., directly) with Dan Frakes and Scholle MacFarland, and both were really great to me. It’s my hope that everyone laid off (save for Serenity Caldwell) lands on their feet soon.…

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‘INEQUALITY AND THE AMERICAN CHILD’

Though an average American childhood may not be the worst in the world, the disparity between the country’s wealth and the condition of its children is unparalleled. About 14.5 percent of the American population as a whole is poor, but 19.9 percent of children – some 15 million individuals – live in poverty. Among developed countries, only Romania has a higher rate of child poverty. The US rate is two-thirds higher than that in the United Kingdom, and up to four times the rate in the Nordic countries. For some groups, the situation is much worse: more than 38 percent of black children and 30 percent of Hispanic children, are poor.

None of this is because Americans do not care about their children. It is because America has embraced a policy agenda in recent decades that has caused its economy to become wildly unequal, leaving the most vulnerable segments of society further and further behind. The growing concentration of wealth – and a significant reduction in taxes on it – has meant less money to spend on investments for the public good, like education and the protection of children.

As a result, America’s children have become worse off. Their fate is a painful example of how inequality not only undermines economic growth and stability – as economists and organizations like the International Monetary Fund are finally acknowledging – but also violates our most cherished notions of what a fair society should look like.…