Software for Verb Based Early Language Intervention

Period of Performance: 06/01/1995 - 11/30/1995


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Laureate Learning Systems, Inc.
Winooski, VT 05404
Principal Investigator


Delays in language acquisition are the most prevalent developmental problem in preschool children. The acquisition of verbs poses a special challenge for children with language problems, perhaps because verbs are richly endowed with syntactic and semantic information and play a central role in the development of grammatical competency. We plan to develop and publish a microcomputer-based system designed to facilitate the development of a rich verb lexicon in children at risk for chronic language disorders. The curriculum will be based on linguistic research indicating a central role for verbs in language acquisition. The proposed system will feature graphics, animation, input/interface options to accommodate children with special needs, digital speech output, and will be controlled by an intelligent computer-aided training system that uses artificial intelligence to generate individualized intervention strategies. The system will include modules designed to increase the size and diversity of the verb lexicon, increase semantic and syntactic accuracy, and promote the proper use of infected verb forms. Our Phase I objective is to demonstrate the feasibility and technical merit of this project by producing a prototype software module that features a subset of the intervention strategies and instructional methods to be used in the completed system. We envision the system being useful in clinical, school, and preschool settings, as well as in the home. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: Speech-language pathologists, teachers, and parents recognize the importance of early intervention when a child's language status is impaired, and such intervention is mandated by Federal law. Based on our experience in this area, we anticipate that an effective language intervention product like that proposed will be a commercial success and will fulfill an unmet need for individualized services.