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TOBY Playpad, the iPad app created to change for the better the lives of parents who have a child with autism, has won further recognition for PRaDA, Deakin University’s high performing Strategic Research Centre.
The Therapy Outcomes by You Playpad, to give it its full name, was among the winners of the inaugural Victorian International Education Awards announced by the Premier, Denis Napthine at a special ceremony at Government House in Melbourne.
TOBY Play won the winner in the category Excellence in International Education – Research Engagement.
Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander welcomed the award.
“Deakin has been true to its values, providing research that makes a difference to the communities it serves,” she said.
“The TOBY Playpad is a fantastic tool for young children and has taken an accessible, affordable tool to a country where thousands of children and their families will benefit.
“I congratulate everyone involved in this fantastic project – it’s a great honour for Deakin and our dedicated research teams.”
The TOBY Playpad was originally developed for Western cultures, but is now being applied successfully in India, where PRaDA is working with the Tamana School of Hope in New Delhi.
The Director of PRaDA, Professor Svetha Venkatesh, recently visited India for the official launch of TOBY Playpad there.
“The TOBY Playpad is an opportunity for parents and educators in India to provide children with timely and inexpensive early intervention therapy both at school and home,” she said at the launch.
“For a population where autism as a disability generally goes unnoticed, we want to create awareness and reach out to as many people as possible.”
Dr Shyama Chona, President of Tamana, said the TOBY Playpad from Deakin holds a new hope for the children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
"Seeing is believing how these kids at Tamana learn with joy using their little fingers and being amazed at their own drops of learning joys," she said.
"Tamana School of Hope, a non-profit NGO for multiply challenged and autistic individuals, is a natural partner to this project with Deakin."