Computer-Assisted Violence Prevention in Kindergarten

Period of Performance: 03/13/2006 - 10/31/2008

$299K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Inflexxion, Inc.
Newton, MA 02464
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This application proposes development of the Comprehensive Affective Training (CAT) program, an interactive, multimedia-based prevention curriculum for Pre-K and Kindergarten age children. The need for this product arises from the alarming prevalence of violence and other delinquent behaviors in American society. Children with inadequate social and emotional knowledge early in life tend to be rejected by peers, which, in turn, places them at greater risk for the development of entrenched, violence-prone patterns of thought and behavior. To avoid this developmental trajectory, experts advocate the creation of prevention programming focusing on social and emotional skills during the preschool years. However, mostly due to cost and extensive training requirements, the vast majority of Pre-K and Kindergarten age children do not have access to this type of programming. To help address this issue, the current application proposes combining the latest findings and theories on emotional knowledge with multimedia computer technology. The child-focused program will be delivered through an engaging format involving animation and video, as well as personalized feedback and adjunct follow-up exercises to be conducted by parents and teachers. Also intended for parents and teachers, the adult component will consist of a series of audio files demonstrating sample adult-child, "emotion coaching" dialogues delivered over the phone or internet. The Phase II development effort will include a stimulus validation study, a series of usability studies, and production of the final program. The final program will then be subject to an experimental field trial in a school-based setting, an exploratory situational study examining use of the CAT program in a home-based setting, and acceptance testing involving teachers, parents, and children.