Virtual Reality and Web Tools for Children with FAS/FAE

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44AA013362-02
Agency Tracking Number: AA013362
Amount: $0.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solitcitation Year: N/A
Solitcitation Topic Code: N/A
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Duns: N/A
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (919) 420-1978
Business Contact
Phone: (904) 797-3979
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAS/FAE) are a series of irreversible birth defects that persist throughout the life span of the individual. Because of developmental delays and deficits in abstract thinking, children with these disorders can miss the connection between cause and effect, which often results in risky behaviors and dangerous encounters with their environment. Phase II proposes to develop a virtual reality Safety Skills Training Program to help children with these special learning needs better understand and practice correct safety actions. It will use a series of virtual situations that model hazardous real-life situations. All four milestones in Phase I were met. These included: (1) establishing the program design for the special learning requirements of children with FAS/FAE, (2) developing a virtual reality program, worlds, and characters to teach home fire safety actions, customized for these special learning needs, (3) demonstrating the playability of the program on a home PC to establish commercial viability, and (4) testing the program with children with this disorder. Efficacy of the program was tested using a multiple baseline, multiple probe design, with five children who had been diagnosed with fetal alcohol related disorders. The results indicated that all the children reached 100% accuracy in identifying fire safety components, defined as doing the correct safety steps in the virtual world, and that eighty percent of these children were able to perform all actions correctly in both generalization and follow-up probes in the real world following virtual training. Phase II will extend the learning concepts developed in Phase I to a final Safety Skills Training Program product to be delivered for game play on a home PC. It will include safety modules, an integrated safety game, and support tools to allow a child to practice correct safety actions in controlled virtual worlds and to help the child generalize these actions to the real world. Program efficacy will be measured with thirty children ages four to ten years old with fetal alcohol related disorders. Phase II will utilize a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to detect differences between groups trained on different selected safety skills.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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