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Theory of Mind Software for Autism and other Communication Disorders

Award Information

Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
85523
Program Year/Program:
2007 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
DC008510
Solicitation Year:
N/A
Solicitation Topic Code:
N/A
Solicitation Number:
N/A
Small Business Information
LAUREATE LEARNING SYSTEMS, INC.
110 E SPRING ST WINOOSKI, VT -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: Theory of Mind Software for Autism and other Communication Disorders
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43DC008510-01A1
Award Amount: $188,462.00
 

Abstract:

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Full participation in the human social milieu requires that one be able to understand that other people have their own goals, intentions, and beliefs (which may or may not be correct) - and that these epistemic states g overn people's behavior. This form of awareness has been called Theory of Mind (ToM). Unfortunately, the development of ToM is severely delayed or fails altogether in many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as in oral deaf children from hearing families (DH) who are not exposed to adequate language input, and others with Specific Lan- guage Impairment (SLI). The prevalence of ToM deficits in these populations contributes to mounting evidence that language plays a critical role in ToM deve lopment, and in fact there is considerable support for the position that it plays a causal role. In the proposed research we seek to develop a curriculum and intervention software for children with ASD, SLI, and DH children that can be used to help remedia te language deficits that are reliably associated with poor performance on classic tests of ToM development. Progress toward this goal will at the least provide at risk children with a basis for understanding the language associated with epistemic states, and it is predicted, will also aid in the actual development of ToM abilities in many children for whom these abilities may otherwise be out of reach. In Phase I the investigators and consultants will detail the curriculum for the full project, specify the curriculum for the prototype software, and develop the prototype program. The prototype will then be field tested with children in each of the populations named above. Being able to understand that other people have their own goals, intentions, and belief s (which may or may not be correct) - and that these epistemic states govern people's behavior - has been called Theory of Mind (ToM). Unfortunately, the development of ToM is severely delayed or fails altogether in many children with Autism Spectrum Disor der (ASD), as well as in oral deaf children who are not exposed to adequate language input and others with Specific Language Impairment. In the proposed research we will develop intervention software that will help to remediate language deficits that are r eliably associated with poor performance on classic tests of ToM development. Progress toward this goal will provide children with a basis for understanding the language associated with epistemic states, and it is predicted, will also aid in the developmen t of ToM abilities.

Principal Investigator:

Mary S. Wilson
8026554755
MARYW@LLSYS.COM

Business Contact:

Sweig M. Wilson
kathyh@llsys.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

LAUREATE LEARNING SYSTEMS, INC.
110 EAST SPRING ST WINOOSKI, VT 05404

EIN/Tax ID: 030284534
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No