PlayTalk Communication Software for Children with Complex Communication Needs

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44HD059231-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44HD059231
Amount: $550,100.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: NICHD
Solicitation Number: PA11-096
Small Business Information
DUNS: 956866784
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (479) 632-4166
Business Contact
Phone: (479) 632-4166
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): There is an urgent need for speech generating devices (SGDs) designed for young children with complex communication needs. Available SGDs are difficult for children to use and time consuming for adults to program. Without appropriate SGDs, children miss valuable opportunities to communicate and develop language skills during their early years, when they are predisposed to language development. The proposed research continues development of software that successfully addresses these problems. Named PlayTalk, this software encourages interaction and communication that appeals to young children. It uses developmentally appropriate representations, organizations, and navigational techniques so it is easy for young children to understand and use. It also enables adults to add communication displays and language concepts easily and quickly while interacting with the child, without disrupting the fun and learning. The Phase 1 study clearly demonstrated feasibility. PlayTalk wasfast and easy for parents and professionals to learn and use, and it supported communication and language learning by young children with complex communication needs better than current SGDs. PlayTalk also provided access to vocabulary that was more responsive to the children's immediate needs and interests, enabling parents and professionals to capitalize on teachable moments as they occurred throughout the day. Phase 2 technical developments focus on making PlayTalk available on many devices via standardweb-browsers. Phase 2 also furthers the state-of-the-art by providing tools to encourage participation by children in the creation of VSDs. The impact of PlayTalk is exceptional because it promotes communication, language, and cognitive development by young children who presently are at great risk for failure in these areas. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The proposed research aims to enable young children with complex communication needs to participate more fully in meaningful social interactions therebyfacilitating communication, language, and cognitive development.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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