This application seeks support for an SBIR Phase II project to complete development and evaluation of Picture Reader, a computer-based product intended primarily for teaching children with mental retardation, autism, and other intellectual disabilities. The product addresses essential skills critical to completing tasks that involve a sequence of steps. The objective is to teach students to """"""""read"""""""" pictures (instead of words), either in trained or novel combinations, in order to complete tasks independently. In other words, in the Picture Reader program, the pictures will serve as instructional stimuli. The components of the curriculum require the student to watch and imitate a video model of a task and to reproduce the behavior sequence when presented with pictures corresponding to the steps of the video task. The project has two major objectives. First, building upon a successful Phase I prototype, we will develop a fully-featured version of Picture Reader in anticipation of commercialization. Second, we will verify that the product can be implemented effectively by its intended users and that it teaches picture-reading and task completion skills reliably in settings in which it will be routinely used.
The Specific Aims of the project are to: (1) Further develop and enhance the capabilities of the Picture Reader prototype product; (2) expand the ongoing field testing of Picture Reader to include gradual stimulus change procedures and recombinative generalization methodologies; (3) Complete a full, commercial-ready version of the software product, including user-friendly documentation to support the curriculum; and (4) Verify that the product's user-support package is sufficient for effective implementation by its intended users.