DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
PI: DEBRA CHILDRESS, ANN SAM
TERM: 05/13 – 01/16
Tools specifically designed to prepare secondary students with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HF-ASD) for the transition to postsecondary learning are currently lacking, contributing to their marked under-education and under-employment compared to typically developing peers. Considering the incidence of HF-ASD is now at an historic high, schools have a critical need for feasible, effective tools to help students with HF-ASD achieve postsecondary education. A growing literature underscores the critical role of resilience strategies (coping and self-advocacy skills) for academic and social-emotional adjustment to college as well as persistence in postsecondary education. This SBIR project (Phase I and Phase II) developed a dynamic interactive software specifically designed to enhance resilience strategies needed by 11th and 12th grade students with HF-ASD to successfully transition to postsecondary learning. This technology product enhances students’ preparedness for this transition through a self-paced, online interactive environment with individualized adaptation and pedagogical assistance for scaffolded learning and practice. This cost-effective, easily accessible, and feasible tool provides educators with online professional development and implementation resources, including real-time performance tracking of student progress towards criterion-based goals. This project directly addresses IES’ invitational priority for educational technology products to improve transition outcomes for secondary students with disabilities.
The primary commercial application is a software product employing dynamic, interactive e-learning technology for individualized learning and practice with 11th and 12th grade students with HF-ASD. The product provides schools with a cost-effective, easily accessible means to build resilience strategies specifically needed by students with HF-ASD to successfully transition to postsecondary learning. The product also provides unprecedented professional development tools and implementation supports for school-based providers along with an easy system for tracking and documenting students’ progress towards targeted learning goals. No other available intervention offers the instructional and technical innovations that this product offers.