Contact: Pam Homsher, Director of Communications, Monarch Teaching Technologies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NIH GRANT AWARDED FOR INNOVATIVE TREATMENT OF AUTISM
Shaker Heights, Ohio, October 6, 2008 – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, announced last week the award of a $182,000 grant to further the “innovative and effective” work being done by Monarch Teaching Technologies (MTT) in the treatment of Autism.
“It’s gratifying to have our work acknowledged as an effective collaboration with the leading researchers in the field,” said Terry Murphy, CEO of MTT, “and the monetary support will allow us the opportunity to develop new components and bring them to market quicker than we would have been able to otherwise.”
The money awarded will be used to research and develop new components for VizZle, a proprietary, web-based service currently used by the Monarch School for Children with Autism in Shaker Heights, OH, and slated for roll-out to the public in November, 2008. VizZle provides educators and parents with convenient, easy to use tools to create or modify the customized interactive visual supports necessary to effectively reach, communicate with, and educate individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Visual supports are the foundation of the “Monarch Model,” a multi-disciplinary curriculum developed at the Monarch School in conjunction with Howard Shane, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Communication Disorders at Childrens Hospital Boston. Researchers and educators agree that most autistic children’s primary processing mode is visual, and the Monarch Model builds on that strength. Dr. Shane documented the efficacy of the Monarch Model teaching methodology in his recently released book Visual Language in Autism (Plural Publishing, 2008) (http://www.pluralpublishing.com/publications_vlia.htm).
While widely acknowledged as very effective, the use of customized visual content has until now been severely limited by practical concerns. Creating the engaging, individualized pieces needed was a time-consuming and expensive chore involving multiple software programs, searches for appropriate art, and manual cutting, pasting and laminating of printed materials.
To solve this problem, VizZle gives users unlimited web access to three important components: a library full of searchable shared lesson content already proven effective in the classroom; a visual language lab with over 14,000 appropriate images and all the tools necessary for lesson creation or customization; and the means to play the finished product interactively on any computer or web-connected portable device in addition to the traditional print option. This unique product has met with rave reviews by the special education teachers in both public and specialty schools who participated in the two years of development and testing prior to release.
For additional information on this new technology, to arrange interviews, or to obtain available art, please contact Pam Homsher at Monarch Teaching Technologies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc. (monarchteachtech.com) was founded in 2005 by CEO Terry Murphy and Wingspan Care Group, a 501c(3) corporation which includes Bellefaire JCB (bellefairejcb.org), the parent organization of The Monarch School for Children With Autism. In 2007, MTT exclusively licensed intellectual property from Bellefaire JCB and Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School in order to develop and market proprietary software for the treatment of children with Autism and other communication disorders.