Virtual Reality Environments for Stuttering treatment

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$148,870.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
1R41DC006970-01
Award Id:
71481
Agency Tracking Number:
DC006970
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
VIRTUALLY BETTER, INC., 2450 LAWRENCEVILLE HWY, STE 101, DECATUR, GA, 30033
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
SHELLEYBRUNDAGE
(202) 994-5008
BRUNDAGE@GWU.EDU
Business Contact:
(404) 634-3400
Research Institute:
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
Decature, DC, 20052

Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Computer-generated Virtual Reality Environments (VRE's) allow people to have experiences that mimic those of the real world in a safe, controlled, and confidential virtual world. This Phase I STTR proposal aims to develop a Virtual Reality Job Interview (VRJI) Environment to evaluate the effect of such a structured situations upon the Speech patterns of adults who stutter. VR has been used successfully in the rehabilitation of persons with anxiety disorders, phobias, and brain damage. To date VR has not been used in stuttering treatment. Stuttering in adulthood often impacts quality of life, employment opportunities and choices, and psychosocial well-being. Current treatments of stuttering are efficacious but obtaining generalization of treatment effects is challenging. To promote generalization, clients practice techniques learned in treatment outside of the treatment room. Challenges to generalization include: maintaining client confidentiality, reduced efficiency and cost effectiveness, and lack of therapist control over the environment in which new techniques are practiced. We propose to develop the first of a series of VRE's that will support generalization of treatment effects in persons who stutter. Additionally, this VRE has application in other communications disorders and, with minor modification, applicability in other aspects of mental health and the broader economy. The aims of this grant are to: 1) Develop an immersive VR Job Interview environment that increases stuttering in adults who stutter;, 2) Evaluate the potential use of the developed VRE in treatment for adults who stutter, and 3) Write a manual that describes the application of this technology to stuttering treatment. The VRJI will contain both challenging and supportive virtual interviewers. The longterm objectives of a Phase II application include the development and testing of the VRJI in a controlled clinical trial a stuttering treatment augmented by several VRE's designed to aide in the generalization of treatment to real world settings.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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