This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project seeks to address is the lack of focused, high quality reading tools that incorporate modern presentation techniques, high quality artwork, and cutting edge technology. These components have been shown to have pronounced positive impact on reading comprehension in students that have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as well as the greater population. The problem will be attended by creating a tool that goes beyond a single story approach. The project proposes to establish a canvas from which many stories can be created using a structure that incorporates research-based reading strategies and multi-sensory presentation techniques using electronic technologies. Simply stated the basis of modern education is contingent upon reading and comprehension skills therefore it is logical and intuitive that every effort be made toward mastery of this skill set. The outcome of the proposed innovation is a platform that removes technology barriers and encourages high quality development. Utilizing a high resolution 3D graphics rendering engine in focused story presentation broadens the definition of interactive and will allow a deeper immersion in the story, which research suggests is key to using technology to enhance comprehension.
In the U.S. there are over 400,000 school-age youth with ASD. Families and educators of ASD students are the target market for the proposed product. There are few powerful reading and comprehension tools on the market and they have prohibitive costs in that they are expensive and require one-on-one teacher interaction. The proposed innovation will be affordable, downloadable, and used by students with minimal adult supervision. The product will broaden the concept of an interactive book by blending reading with video game technology to strengthen the literal and inferred meanings found in stories. This approach will empower the written word and captivate a reader while integrating testing and aiding of comprehension in real time while reading.