This Small Business Technology and Transfer (STTR) Fast Track proposal focuses on the translation of innovative research protocols for diagnosing Specific Language Impairment (SLI) into an innovative, easy-to- use app-based screener with high potential for private sector commercialization. SLI is a form of language impairment with no known cause, with a strong research base. Because it is difficult to diagnose, the lack of detection often is misperceived as a learning disability, and results in significant challenges in education, employment and social settings. As such, there is a pressing need for a screener consistent with modern life styles;that is quick and easy to use, provides clinically valid evidence-based information, and can alert users to the need for more complete diagnostic assessment to determine if clinical services are needed. The proposed project brings together two PIs with complementary expertise: A proven investigator of SLI (Rice), who identified a clinical grammar marker for SLI and developed experimental assessment protocols, and a leader in the field of Assistive Technology with product and marketing expertise as well as executive leadership of a company (Ellenson). For Phase I, Aim 1 is to translate experimental assessment technologies into an efficient app-based screener that individuals can use independently.
Aim 2 is to field test the app to ascertain it delivers credible data compared to th lab-administered versions of the protocols with children and adolescents with and without impairments. For Phase II, Aim 1 is to translate 10 lab-tested protocols into the screener, and provide coverage and appeal to a broad age range.
Aim 2 is to field test the entire product to ascertain that it delivers credible data compared to the lab-administered versions.
Aim 3 is to integrate confidential, non-identifiable data collection technology into the app in order to gather data of significance to scientific advancement. The screener holds promise for acceptance on a wide base, joining other screeners such as those for color blindness and hearing loss. The screener would also have scientific application in health studies with a large number of participants.
The project will develop a low cost, easily distributed, and non-stigmatizing methodology for screening individuals for Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and other forms of language impairments, ranging in age from young children to adults. It will validate the screening effectiveness with children and adults with and without known language impairments. The screener will contribute to clinical identification of individuals with SLI and other forms of language impairment and be suitable for large scale public health studies of the prevalence and causes of language impairment.