Solution #1:

Interactive AI program that teaches young children prosody - responds to the child’s responses directly and would be designed as a game that children would enjoy. This could combine music, dance, articulation therapy. There could be different levels that children can go up to based on progress. This would be a good solution because it doesn’t have to go through the public education system, but could be implemented into public education. It can be an app that would be easily accessible to however needs/wants to use it. The main face of the app would be a cartoon character (which is a lot less intimidating for children than a therapist), and children would be able to make conversation with it to practice articulation, intonation, tone, stress etc.

“Yes, and…”

1) Yes, and think about what age you would begin this

  • Using this feedback, we have decided to implement different categories for different age groups. The youngest age group will start 18 months and the program can be used until the child is in middle school. Each category will be fitted to the specific needs of its age groups.

2) Yes, and think about the interests of people at different ages - not everyone will be drawn to cartoons?

  • We can solve this problem by implementing the different categories for different age groups. Each category will be created to suit different ages. Younger age groups will have a more cartoony interface with bright colors. As the child gets older, we can adjust to fit their learning needs and make the program slightly more sophisticated.

3) Yes, and keep in mind screen time?

  • This feedback led us to consider researching expert recommendations to decide on how much screen time is beneficial for the child before it becomes a detriment. Per expert advice, we have decided to limit screen time for 2-5 year olds to no more than one hour a day. For older school-aged children (6~12), screen time will be limited to 2-3 hours a day. When using this program, parents/caregivers will have to factor this amount of time into the child’s overall screen time.

“Yes, but…”

1) Yes, but what about people in low income areas who do not have devices - how is this distributed

  • This feedback led us to consider how students with no devices at home could have access to our project. One solution we thought of is we could coordinate with local school districts to allow them to borrow devices for students to use, like a library book. The device would be free to the students to ensure no matter of socio-economic status, every child has an equal opportunity to use it.

2) Yes, but how will you ensure everyone has equal access to the program?

  • Unfortunately, there is no way to ensure that every single child will have equal access to the program. However, if these devices are provided in school, we can make sure that every child that attends school has access to it.

3) Yes, but would this put therapists out of the job?

  • In person education is crucial to a child’s development. Our program would augment and complement in-person therapy sessions. The goal of our moonshot is to create a more accessible program for people who don’t have access to therapy.

Solution #5

A pre-preschool program for children before they join actual school which focuses on only speech sounds. Based on a child’s performance in this program, they could be suited with a classroom that is most tailored to their needs. Would give all students more of an equal chance to learn at their own pace while maintaining in person school structure, which is beneficial for social and emotional development. Pre-school learning focuses mainly on word learning, while the learning of speech sounds and other areas of language like syntax and pronunciation are very important for language acquisition.

“Yes, and…”

1) Yes, and would they eventually go back into integrated classrooms?

  • Yes, they would eventually go back into integrated classrooms. Our program is pre-preschool, and once it is over students will be integrated into normal preschools.

2) Yes, and are you trying to eliminate the need for specialized classrooms in preschool?

  • We do not want to change the preschool curriculum, but rather add to it. We want the pre-preschool program to eventually be integrated into preschool classrooms. Specialized classrooms may still be needed in preschool, though. We just want to give children a head-start on language development.

3) Yes, and is this individualized or in a group setting & Yes, and if this is a group setting, it could also help with socialization amongst other kids their age.

  • This will be a group setting. Our goal would be to make children feel comfortable in the environment and have them work together with other children as well, helping them with socialization skills.

“Yes, but…”

1) Yes, but how is this program distinctly different from other pre-school programs?

  • This program is distinctly different from other preschool programs because children will come at a younger age and our goal would be to focus only on the learning speech sounds to facilitate prosodic development.

2) Yes, but are you specifically focusing on children with autism disorder?

  • Initially, we set out to improve prosodic development in children with ASD. However, this solution may apply to multiple forms of speech/language acquisition disorders.

3) Yes, but how can we make sure a child is not misplaced? Is there a chance for them to move classrooms?

  • We could have a biweekly or monthly (children-friendly) examination to test the skill-set of children from time to time. This can help determine if they need to change groups or remain in the level they are at.

Revised Solutions

We have decided to settle on our first solution, the interactive AI program, for our moonshot project. We used the feedback received last week to implement some new ideas for our project.

Our “yes, and..” suggestions made us realize the importance of implementing different categories for each age group, which will each be fitted to their specific needs. The youngest age group will start 18 months and the program can be used until the child is in middle school. Younger age groups will have a more cartoony interface with bright colors. As the child gets older, we can adjust to fit their learning needs and make the program slightly more sophisticated. Also, due to our feedback, we decided to implement a screen time limit, where each age group will be allowed to use the program for a certain amount of time per day (the amount of time has not yet been decided because we want to get suggestions from our experts).

From our “yes, but…” suggestions, we realized that we need to find a way to distribute our app and make it equally accessible for whoever needs to use it. One solution we thought of is that we could coordinate with local school districts to allow them to borrow devices for students to use, like a library book. The device would be free for the students to ensure that no matter of socio-economic status, every child has an equal opportunity to use it. Also, if these devices are provided in school, we can make sure that every child that attends school has access to it.