How robotics is changing the lives of autistic children

How robotics is changing the lives of autistic children article image

Two years ago, Hayden Litchfield was a shy, introverted student whose confidence and passions in life were limited due to autism.

However, since being part of Techspace Learning Inc, a not-for-profit organisation offering robotics workshops, and STEM-related activities, Hayden has discovered a new-found confidence and love for electronics and robotics.

A Year 7 student at East Marden Primary School in Adelaide, Hayden was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at a young age and had always struggled to concentrate and socialise throughout school life.

Last year, Hayden’s mother Stacey, noticed Hayden’s ability to focus well on science and technology-based activities and started searching for out-of-school activities in this area.

It was then that Stacey came across a scholarship program offered by Techspace Learning Inc. in partnership with the Adelaide City Lions Club.

Hayden applied to take part and he has since been attending the Arduino-based robotics workshops each week. Arduino is an open- source electronics platform on easy-to-use hardware and software.

‘His confidence levels have improved’

“Hayden’s concentration and focus has improved immensely while programming the microprocessors, and building gadgets,” says Educator and Founder of Techspace Learning, Don Eickhoff.

“His confidence levels have improved, and he has found a group of people we like to call his ‘tribe’ that he can relate to.”

“All programs allow students to take ownership and learn while having fun, plus they are not limited by age. We have also had mums, dads and grandparents register for workshops.”

Workshops have been designed to allow individuals to have hands-on experience within an informal and self-paced environment.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, Hayden completed the last few weeks of the program online, along with the other participants.

New-found love for robotics

Even in this online environment, the program was beneficial for him. He was still able to interact with other participants and the educator, while continuing to share his joy for his new-found love for Arduino Robotics.TechSpace1

Techspace Learning Inc also offers several foundation programs in schools as well as participating in countless public science events with interactive displays, such as Science Alive, Brick-a-laide, and Maker Fairs. They are often asked to create programs for special events including The SA Museum School holiday programs and OSHC programs.

Techspace Learning Inc is a registered learning destination for Children’s University Australia, an organisation providing extra-curricular learning opportunities for children aged between 7-14 years, and volunteer opportunities for those aged between 15-18 years of age.

Don Eickhoff and his team also provide training for teachers and other professionals in the basics of Arduino programming. 

To find out more on workshops or special events, visit:



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