The goal of this Phase I SBIR project is (1) to determine the feasibility of using an Animated Spoken Interactive Fiction (AIF) story to help young (14-16 years) high school high functioning students with autism spectrum disorder (HF-ASD) practice pre-employment transition skills (pre-ETS) to obtain a summer job, and (2) to provide information to their teacher to deliver more targeted instruction thereby using instructional time more efficiently.
Our objectives include: (1) define the requirements for a system that enables an HF-ASD student to practice pre-ETS skills, (2) develop a prototype computer-based AIF story, (3) build a prototype web service to capture the student’s progress and display it as skill charts in a browser for the teacher, and (4) assess acceptability and usefulness the system to improve pre-ETS skills with actual HF-ASD students who represent a cross-section of the underserved population. AIF is a computer-based “choose-your-own-adventure” story, where the student is presented with hundreds of “decision points”, and the story plot proceeds based on the student’s choice, so they can experience the outcome of their decisions in a safe, non-judgmental, virtual environment.
The intended outcome of this Phase I project is that the HF-ASD student will find this intervention acceptable and useful, and we will measure this outcome through administering surveys to the student and their teacher.
The expected product is a system that students use under teacher guidance, to help the student obtain and maintain summer employment by mastering many pre-ETS skills.