We received a significant amount of feedback regarding possible solutions to improve social lives of children with pragmatic language disorder. Others provided us with feedback describing that they wanted to know what is currently being done about pragmatic communication disorder, and we are looking into it. Some of our feedback also discussed confusions on what the actual problem is that we are trying to solve.

A moonshot question should have a large and defined target population, and be relatively challenging to solve. Our target population of children with pragmatic communication disorder is approximately 7.5% of all children in the United States. This comes out to approximately 5.5 million children, a significant number. The secondary impacts that these children face because of their developmental disorder are unfortunate and not conducive to a healthy social environment. Our goal is not to cure pragmatic communication disorder, rather it is to allow children with the disorder to have meaningful relationships with their peers and other individuals throughout their childhood. Additionally, after receiving feedback we believe that our moonshot question is sufficient and worthy of pursuing. For these reasons, our team has decided to stick with our original moonshot question:

How can we improve the peer interactions for children with pragmatic language disorder to increase self esteem, reduce difficulties in social settings, and prevent further issues relating to behavior and learning?

Possible solutions to our question have a massive range...these are a few we came up with:

  • Brain device that tells kid how to respond verbally in an appropriate way
  • Zapping device acting as positive punishment (operant conditioning) to tell kids when they did a bad job in a social situation
  • Cure disorder
  • Recreate school curriculum to include lessons on social interactions and how to
  • Social camp for all kids with pragmatic language disorder
  • Life coach/therapist with specific focus on social life and communication
  • Class for young children on how to interact with children with communication disorders
  • Classical conditioning; neutral stimulus is the social interactions of day-to-day life, determine an unconditioned stimulus
  • Paired dopamine release in response to appropriate social interaction (conditioning)

Two Ideas for Rapid Evaluation:

Create and offer a network of social camps held throughout the year and country for all kids with pragmatic language disorder (possibly related disorders as well) to learn and improve upon skills that they may be lacking, and to boost their confidence in conversing with and developing relationships with people in a similar age group as them. Being in the same environment as people with similar struggles should increase self esteem, confidence, and could possibly lead to breakthroughs in therapies that work for this population.

Develop a technology that pairs a dopamine release with a child’s appropriate response in a social interaction. Using this technology as a form of conditioning, the child will eventually pair their appropriate social interactions with a feeling of happiness and the dopamine technology will be able to be removed.