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Autism Treatment The Pivotal Skills Trainer

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41HD047971-01
Agency Tracking Number: HD047971
Amount: $102,854.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2004
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (781) 642-0165
Business Contact
Phone: (803) 233-0541
Research Institution
55 Lake Avenue North
Waltham, MA 01655
United States

 Nonprofit college or university

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This STTR (Phase 1) project begins the translation of untapped scientific findings into an improved software tool for teaching children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities. The project evaluates a package to train teachers to use software called the Pivotal Skills Trainer and examines whether doing so improves preschoolers' functional communication skills both on- and off-computer. A major feature of the children's computer lessons is that they are linked to the best of today's evidence-based curricula and intervention practices. The children's lessons are unique because (a) they maximize motivation for learning by using high-interest videos as rewards and instructional cues, access to which may be self-determined; (b) they enhance attention to complex instructional cues by structuring interactive involvement with classes and components of cues and by encouraging fluent category learning; and (c) they foster independence and spontaneity by teaching self-initiated socialization routines for engaging others about computer lessons learned. The Specific Aims of the project seek a compelling initial demonstration of the effectiveness, efficiency, and desirability of the software product and its user training package. Aim 1 is to evaluate the teachers' training and their satisfaction in using the Pivotal Skills Trainer (with pretest-posttest designs and consumer satisfaction surveys). Aim 2 is to verify that teacher's use of the Pivotal Skills Trainer improves children's skill sets (with multiple baseline and alternating treatments designs). Aim 3 examines the commercial potential of the Pivotal Skills Trainer (with independent consultations and critiques). In Phase II, the evaluation of a refined and expanded product and training package will include the schools, clinics, and homes that currently use the company's principal software title.

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

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