It’s About More Than Robots In Floral Park

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The Floral Park Brick Heads robotics team is headed to the University of Arkansas Razorback Invitational Championship Tournament on May 13. The team qualified for this prestigious international tournament by winning the 2nd Place Champions Award at the Long Island FIRST LEGO League Championships and achieving excellence in the Robot Game, Research Project and Teamwork categories.

The Brick Heads’ research project is a significant one as the team strives to answer the question: How can we improve the way that teenagers learn to help and support someone who has autism? The team’s research process has been intense and included discussions with educators at the elementary and high school levels; use of current text and internet sources; a visit to Autism Speaks in Port Washington, which featured interviews with the staff; participation in the Long Island Walk for Autism Speaks at Jones Beach; a visit to Spectrum Designs, an employer of young adults with autism, where Brick Head team T-shirts and pins were made; and an extraordinary experience meeting with two world renowned autism researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

At Mount Sinai, Joseph Buxbaum, PhD is a neuroscientist and director of the Seaver Autism Center and the Autism Genome Project. Alexander Kolevzon, MD is director of the child behavioral health and science center.

Buxbaum and Kolevzon shared the world’s latest research findings with respect to the genetic causes, diagnosis and treatment of autism. The researchers also offered positive feedback regarding the Brick Heads’ innovative solution that shows teens how to better help and support those with autism: a creative, one-minute YouTube video entitled Be A Friend which may be accessed by searching for “brickheadstv” on YouTube’s website.

The Brick Heads will be presenting their autism research findings and innovative solution to a panel of judges at the University of Arkansas. There, they will also participate in the exciting Robot Game competition, a robotics technical presentation, and teamwork challenges, alongside more than 70 other American and international teams.

Community members, who wish to support the Brick Heads’ Arkansas trip, are invited to make donations. Checks, payable to the Floral Park Brick Heads, may be forwarded to Coach Cindy Casson at 103 Cherry Street, Floral Park, NY 11001. Those who wish to donate through GoFundMe may access the Brick Heads’ account (www.gofundme.com/pcn4i4).

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