A 17 year old pupil impacted by autoimmune disease gives his perspective on using an AV1 Robot

Reitse Kelder, aged 17, could not attend school regularly for three years due to the impact of autoimmune disease (TRAPS fever syndrome). He spoke to us about his experience of school absence and using AV1.

"The robot has allowed me to attend school as much as possible and stay in touch with my class despite my disability."

What was it like for you when you were told that you could not attend school for a long time/regularly? 

For me, it was not so much that I was suddenly unable to attend school for a long time; AV1 was a convenient solution for me so that I could attend school on a flexible basis from home at times when I had less energy. I did this in the past with a KPN Klassecontact, but that was a very inconvenient device because of its weight and size, and the laptop that had to be used with it.

What are the biggest challenges during the times you can't go to school? 

Missing the sociability of school and my friends. Fortunately, I could still talk to them through online platforms, or play games with them, for example. But you do miss the basics and rhythm of going to school every day.

Did you feel pressure/stress because you had to miss classes and friends? 

No, not that much. I managed to do tests and I was in good shape at school, so I didn't feel any stress.

What were your first thoughts when you heard about the AV1? 

I hadn't used the KPN Klassecontact for a while because it didn't actually work well enough. When I heard that there was a better option with the AV1, it was really nice.

What is the biggest difference for you between being taught with the school robot and another solution like e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, teacher at home? 

With the AV1 Robot, it was much easier to connect in class. For example, if you went to work in groups, the robot could just stand on a table and you could interact with the other students. 

How was your first day at school with AV1? 

Very smooth. I had the AV1 App on my iPad, so I could easily watch and my friends took the robot from classroom to classroom to the different lessons. Everyone in the class found it very special to see, and because it worked so naturally, I could also just have a chat with everyone.

What does your daily life look like with the school robot? 

In periods when my health was less good, I used the robot for longer periods in a row, but sometimes I only did it for a day, when I had less energy, for example. That flexibility made it very easy to still get as much out of school as possible. Fortunately, I didn't have to use the robot much last year, because I was doing very well. But it was nice that it was always there, just in case. 

How easy or difficult is it to operate the AV1? 

Controlling the AV1 is very easy using the app. You just tap on the screen where you want to look and you can turn up or down the robot's speaker, depending on whether you are chatting during the teacher's explanation or speaking in front of the whole class, for example.

Does the avatar also go outside with you, gym class or other things outside the classroom?

The robot sometimes went outside with me during break, then I could just talk to my friends. They would then just take it back into class after the break.

What was your best experience with the school robot? 

For the past three years, the robot has allowed me to attend school as much as possible and stay in touch with my class despite my disability. That is very nice in itself.

Thank you for developing and providing this beautiful device!

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