Autism Treatment The Pivotal Skills Trainer

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R41HD047971-01
Agency Tracking Number: HD047971
Amount: $102,854.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (781) 642-0165
Business Contact
Phone: (803) 233-0541
Research Institution
 55 Lake Avenue North
Waltham, MA, 01655
 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. *

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government