AT Success Stories News and Events

A Booklover’s Story of Finding Her Voice

Co-authored by Ann Bedard, EASTCONN and Meredith Daggett

Sydney Daggett’s early life started in Texas alongside her twin sister, Maddie. Early on, her family noticed Syd was globally delayed. All of the typical milestones that babies and toddlers experience came much later for Sydney.

Sydney in her Book Nook

Years of Birth-to-Three services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy helped, but her family knew this would be a lifelong adventure. Syd’s mother, Meredith, knew she wanted to research every area to help Syd grow. She knew technology was improving and asked Syd’s school if she could try using an iPad to communicate. Syd used it minimally at first, but it proved to be a way to get her basic needs met.

After Syd’s father passed away unexpectedly when Syd was 7 years old, the family moved back to Connecticut. School staff and doctors diagnosed Syd as being on the Autism Spectrum among other diagnoses. They found out Syd has apraxia, which is a motor disorder that makes it hard to speak. This is the point where Syd’s mom knew they had to invest time and consistency in her talker (iPad with a speech-generating app). Fast forward to age 17 and Syd wears her talker as an extension of herself every day. It has become her communication with her world.

“She gets all her needs met, often asking for pizza and Chinese food daily! Drives us crazy and she’s lucky she’s cute! She can tell jokes and join conversations because of her talker,” Syd’s mom, Meredith shares. “We realize Syd is one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to use a talker, have lots of school support and have the training that comes along with a talker. This didn’t just happen though, it took years of advocating for Syd, patience, and getting all the support she needs.”

Now her family’s mission is to give back. Syd’s Book Shack & Boutique is a non-profit business created from their experience. Currently located in Guilford, CT, (and soon to be moving to a larger location in Madison, CT) the store is open 6 days a week selling used and rare books, handcrafted jewelry, and unique gifts. They want to raise awareness and funds towards supplying talkers to those who do not have access.

“We want to use this nonprofit as a way to acquire talkers for those who do not have the resources Syd has,” her mom explains. “Our plan is considering other avenues to help and benefit our community kids too. We wish to be able to give young adults like Syd job training and social skills using the store as the vehicle. All of us want this to be a community hang out where all are welcome and greeted with a smile. We have met so many amazing people along the way and look forward to meeting so many more.” To reach out, please visit:, @sydsbookshack,

News and Events Product Spotlight

Movia Robotics Shares a Look into Robot-Assisted Instruction

Written by Muniba Masood​, Vice President, Movia Robotics

Kebbie RobotChildren with autism have always had to change for the world; but now the world is starting to change for them! Devoted to improving the lives of children with autism through Robot-Assisted Instruction, MOVIA Robotics is an innovative tech company that designs products for both the home and school environment. MOVIA’s Robot-Assisted Instruction (RAI) system integrates cutting-edge software and evidence-based curriculum delivered through captivating robotics platforms to engage children with autism in order to improve outcomes. The RAI system supports a pre-programmed curriculum with the ability to uniquely configure the experience based on each child’s educational and social-emotional learning goals. What’s more, MOVIA’s dedicated team of experts works with each family or classroom to tailor the experience to the individual, making sure each child is given all the tools he or she needs to succeed.

young boy with his parents using the Kebbi robot at home

MOVIA is also beginning to work with older students with autism, as they learn to transition from school to prevocational services and will eventually work with adults in vocational settings as well.

Teacher with young students using a MOVIA robot for instruction

Learn more on the Movia Robotics website.

MOVIA's 4 robots

News and Events Product Spotlight

Instructional Robots have Moved into Oak Hill!

By Adam Kosakowski, NEAT, Assistive Technology Specialist

Image of Kebbi. A classroom robot with a very cute digital face.Meet Kebbi!

Kebbi is an educational robot that integrates artificial intelligence, software, and hardware technology to provide a variety of facial expressions, body movements and communicative interactions. Kebbi provides a unique set of capabilities that offer students with autism and other special needs a unique approach to learning and engagement in the home/school environment.

The robot-assisted instruction comes with fundamental skills-training, using evidence-based techniques. The software supports a pre-programmed curriculum with the ability to customize, based on the student’s educational deficits as well as achievements.


The NEAT Center at Oak Hill has received two of these beautiful devices: one, which was donated to Oak Hill from MOVIA Robotics, and the other purchased for NEAT by the CT Tech Act Project. The CT Tech Act Project provides a great deal of programmatic support to NEAT, especially for the Lending Library and Adaptive Equipment Services. Both devices have been entered into the Lending Library at NEAT and can be borrowed to help make informed decisions about purchasing. Borrowing a device allows individuals time to see if it will meet their needs, both socially and educationally. Want to learn more? Please reach out to Adam Kosakowski from the NEAT Center at

Want to see more right now? Check out the links below:

Two young boys happily interacting with Movia Kebbie Robot

Young boy using Movia Kebbie Robot