The Malta Independent 22 June 2024, Saturday
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Autism-sensitive book accessed by over 1,000 students in first year

Sunday, 12 May 2024, 08:50 Last update: about 2 months ago

In a year since Mase in Space, Malta's first autism-sensitive book was launched, over 1,000 students have enjoyed its colourful and interactive content during story-telling sessions held in different schools across Malta and Gozo or enjoyed its digital, interactive version.

"We are overwhelmed with the positive response to Mase in Space during the course of the past year. This project was an exciting journey which has taught us a lot and brought joy to us and all those whom we got to share our passion with," said Michelle Mifsud, a speech-language pathologist who co-authored the book together with her sister Marilyn Formosa, a lawyer by profession with illustrations by talented illustrator Sharon Naudi.

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The creation of a digital interactive version of Mase in Space was sponsored by GO plc and developed by Stefan Bartolo, Marketing manager at GO and an avid game developer.

"I am very proud of having contributed to this project by developing the digital version of Mase in Space. This project embodies GO's values of inclusivity and unity and continues to resonate deeply as we continue to live our purpose of Driving a Digital Malta, where no one is left behind," said Bartolo. 

During the storytelling sessions and several public events, the team apply their respective training to ensure that the sessions are engaging, fun and also informative and captivating learning experiences. The children are fully immersed with the help of visual-aid communication boards where required.

"With Mase in Space we wanted to create a resource to help children with divergent needs develop specific social skills that neurotypical children potentially develop naturally. However, the design of the book is such that it can be enjoyed by everyone," said Mifsud.

"During our sessions, we encourage children to participate by asking questions about the characters and to mimic actions and sounds as the story unfolds. Watching their reactions is amazing and it is remarkable to witness the power of storytelling and watch bonds form between the children," she added.

The digital version proved to be extremely well-suited to story-telling in the classroom. Thanks to its simple and easy-to-use format, it is being projected onto smart boards inside the class thus giving children a fantastic interactive experience of the book.

"Following the success garnered by this first collaboration and the need for such resources, the authors are planning new productions in this series in the coming months as well as a fun family event in September," concluded Mifsud.

GO's digitalised version of Mase in Space is available at https://maseinspace.itch.io/mase-in-space for just €4.99.


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