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A Computer-based Social Intervention for Students with High Functioning ASD:…

Award Information

Department of Education
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
3-C Institute for Social Development
1901 N Harrison Ave STE 200 Cary, NC 27513
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Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: A Computer-based Social Intervention for Students with High Functioning ASD: Using Technology to Improve Special Education
Agency: ED
Contract: edies11c0033
Award Amount: $149,993.00


Purpose: Students with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HF-ASD) face unique challenges with social skills and social relationships, often experiencing heightened levels of social isolation and exclusion from social opportunities. Without intervention, these social difficulties can interfere significantly with students’ ability to engage in and learn at school. However, few social interventions are available that are both evidence-based and feasible to implement in a school. Further, products that allow educators to simultaneously implement a social intervention and measure its impact on students’ social functioning are lacking. This project will develop a fully interactive computer-based social intervention for elementary school students with HF-ASD. Project Activities: The development process will entail designing graphics for the characters and scenery, scripting the hierarchy of dialog and behavioral menu choices available to the student, defining the scoring algorithms for assessing social problem solving, and integrating instructional content. The research team will use a mixed-meth design to assess the prototype with 45 students and a group of teachers, and then make iterative refinements based on feedback. After development is complete, research will assess the feasibility and usability, and promise of the product to improve social functioning in 50 special education classrooms. Half of the classrooms will be randomly assigned to participate in SST while the other half will receive services as usual over a period of two months. Measures will include student attitudes and behaviors relating to social skills and decision making.

Principal Investigator:

Janey McMillan

Business Contact:

Janey McMillan
Small Business Information at Submission:

3-C Institute for Social Development, Inc.
1901 N. Harrison Ave STE 200 Cary, NC 27513-

EIN/Tax ID: 562237463
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No