News & Updates

Sons of Little Italy Donates to Robot Research Project
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 3:37 PM

A donation from the Sons of Little Italy is helping to fund groundbreaking research into the treatment of autism.  The organization recently donated $1,000 to the autism research project that the Barber National Institute is conducting with the University of Notre Dame.

The research, which began in April, is evaluating the effectiveness of using a robot in clinical therapy for children with autism.

While each child has individualized objectives to achieve in therapy, the general goals include:

  • Increasing social and communication skills
  • Developing conversation skills (stay on topic, converse back and forth)
  • Promoting spontaneous communication

The robots serve as reinforcements and motivators to engage the children.

To fund the project, the Barber National Institute is turning to private donors for assistance.  “As with most research, reimbursement from state or federal governments is not available to fund the costs,” said John Barber, president and chief executive officer.  “But we believe that it is vital to advance our search for effective treatments, and are grateful that the Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Foundation funded the initial costs of this project.  We encourage other individuals or businesses who might be interested to consider a donation to this worthy endeavor.”

For more information about making a donation to the robot research project, contact Gary Bukowski, CFRE, vice president for advancement, at 814-878-4033 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For more information about the robot research, visit the Robot Research page.

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