For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry Wright
802-655-4755 Ext. 20

Laureate Awarded NIH Funding to Develop Software for Children with Autism

(March 26, 2012 – Winooski, VT) Laureate Learning Systems, Inc., a leading developer of special education software, recently received a $1.6 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to develop research-based vocabulary intervention software for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other communication disorders. This research support was awarded to Laureate through a highly competitive peer-review process designed to identify projects that address important problems in the field. Priorities include projects that yield innovative new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches, and methodologies and are designed to improve treatment, services, and preventative interventions. The NIH SBIR program is designed to enable small companies to engage in innovative research and development that has the potential to lead to commercial applications that will benefit the public and contribute to evidence-based practices. This new SBIR grant will support the development of a cost-effective means to promote early language and cognitive development in children with ASD as well as a broad range of other language disorders.

Over the past 17 years, Laureate has received a total of 15 Phase I and Phase II SBIR awards from NIDCD, which provides support for basic and clinical research designed to improve the lives of individuals with communication disorders; and The National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which provides support for research aimed at ensuring that all children are provided with an opportunity to achieve their full potential for leading healthy and productive lives. These SBIR awards have aided Laureate in the development of its Sterling Edition language assessment and intervention programs which cover early vocabulary, categorization, syntax, auditory discrimination and processing, as well as functional language. All of the Sterling Edition language programs combine recent developments in linguistic theory and include a uniquely designed Optimized Intervention® artificial intelligence curriculum delivery. The Optimized Intervention® systems included in the Sterling Editions were inspired by Laureate’s association with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Software Technology Branch at the Johnson Space Center.

Regarding significant achievements during Phase I of this project, Dr. Mary Sweig Wilson, President of Laureate Learning Systems reports: “In field-testing of our prototype software we were able to demonstrate that children with language functioning below three years of age were able to learn fast-mapping, a word learning process that helps children quickly encode new words. That children who were at first unable to fast-map new nouns were able to do so after training offers the promise of not just teaching children with communication disorders content but fundamentally improving the processes by which new words are learned.”

Laureate Learning Systems has been publishing language and reading intervention software for 30 years. Founded by two speech-language pathologists, Laureate offers a complete line of software for children and adults with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, language-learning disorders, physical impairments, and reading difficulties as well as English language learners (ELL). For more information, contact Laureate Learning Systems Inc., 110 East Spring Street, Winooski, VT 05404; Phone: 800-562-6801; Fax: 802-655-4757; Web Site: www.

About the Author:

eSchool News