A new Alexa skill called Ella the Jellyfish aims to help children with a severe form of childhood-onset epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). The skill allows children to play interactive through listening and creative activities like:
- Listening to stories
- Singing songs
- Listening to meditations
- Playing games like “Color Hunt” or “Ella Says, Freeze Dance”.
The Ella the Jellyfish skill, created by Eisai Inc, a pharmaceutical business that deals primarily with neurology and oncology, is available for free on Alexa-enabled devices, according to a recent press release from the company. Kayleigh Keen, a parent of a child with LGS, said,
“Having a special-needs child can be isolating and exhausting because it’s so difficult to find help or a community that understands our needs and most of the time we are struggling to just keep our heads above water…When we attended the LGS Foundation conference this year, it was fun to watch my son have the opportunity to sample the skill and see my son’s face light up as he easily interacted with Ella the Jellyfish during several activities.”
Symptoms of LGS include frequent seizures, cognitive impairment, developmental delays, and behavioral issues like sleep disturbances, aggression, hyperactivity and signs of autism. As children with LGS require 24/7 supervision, the Ella the Jellyfish skill is meant to support both children with LGS and their parents.
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Eisai Inc. said that they created the Ella the Jellyfish skill with the goal of “human health care”, moving beyond traditional medicinal approaches. Dr. Michael Chez, a Pediatric Epileptologist at Sutter Medical Group in California, said he also looks for forms of support beyond pharmaceuticals. He said in the press release, “When I treat children with LGS, I am always looking for ways to better help support caregivers and families navigate the daily challenges of taking care of someone with this disease…Ella is a wonderful example of how technology can provide a new level of support and compassion.”