Leaders profiles men and women working in the disability arena whose efforts are improving the lives of people with disabilities worldwide. These individuals are entrepreneurs, assistive technology developers, politicians, educators, advocates, writers, philanthropists, government policy makers, artists, lawyers, business and labor leaders. These individuals are unknown heroes to people inside and outside the disability fields. Our goal is to make them known. We are pleased to accept your nomination for a Leader.
Karl Smith is an electrical & computer engineer, father of a child with autism, and founder of Accelerations Educational Software (AES). He has worked as a drug & alcohol counselor in the army; pursued studies in computer engineering, artificial intelligence, and psychology in graduate school; and also has researched topics in artificial intelligence. He has helped develop software for AT&T, NCR, Sandia National Labs, Tennessee Valley Authority, Los Alamos National Labs, and the United Nations.
Smith originally created the DT Trainer to help his son. The product is now used in over 900 school districts, over 230 private schools and service providers, and thousands of homes. He started AES to help bring research to practice for educational software that would allow individuals with autism and other learning disabilities to independently learn at least some of what we need them to know.
Through the creation of the DT Trainer, Smith has established relationships with researchers, academics, educators, and experts in autism to guide the development and evolution of his products. His interests are in creating fundamental learning software that is effective, robust, and affordable.
He has now created the Activity Trainer to help teach skills to individuals with cognitive disabilities. Smith recognized that even with all the supporting research and available media, video modeling had not taken off as a common practice in the educational system. The roadblock was that no tool had been created to make video modeling practical. With the input of researchers and other video modeling experts, he addressed this problem in the creation of the Activity Trainer. However, as a designed player for video models, the software goes well beyond the simple playing of video models. His company is creating a large skills library to address skills covering the topics of academic, communication, daily living, non-verbal imitation, social, and vocational.
He is currently collaborating to make a speech development product available, and is the early stages of developing technology to support remote mentoring.
Smith also advocates for the creation of an Autism Educational Technology Center and other initiatives to facilitate the creation and adoption of an array of effective and affordable educational technologies to improve the education and life outcomes of individuals with autism.