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icon of glasses and a book Small Business Innovation Research in Special Education

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Contact:

Dr. Edward Metz
(202) 245-7550
Edward.Metz@ed.gov

Description:

Program Type: Contracts

View the SBIR homepage.

The ED/IES SBIR Program provides up to $1,050,000 in funding to small business firms and partners for the research and development (R&D) of commercially viable education technology products. The program accepts proposals in education (click here for more information on the education priorities) and in special education (see below).

In the area of special education, ED/IES SBIR funds the R&D of products to improve outcomes among infants, toddlers, or students with or at risk for disabilities, and products to support teachers (or other instructional personnel, related services providers, or family members) in early intervention or special education settings.

Products for use by or with infants, toddlers, or students with or at risk for disabilities in early intervention or special education programs (including general education classes with students with disabilities) must be designed to improve outcomes in one of more of the following areas: cognitive, functional and adaptive skills, physical skills, school readiness, reading, writing, communication and language, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), computer science, economics, history, social studies, geography, civics, foreign languages, general study skills, social skills, dispositions, and behaviors that support academic and other important school-related outcomes (e.g., high school graduation rates), or transition outcomes for secondary students with disabilities.

Products for use by teachers or other service delivery providers (e.g., early interventionists, guidance counselors, speech/language pathologists, school psychologists, or parents) in early intervention or special education programs must be intended either:

a. to improve outcomes in one of more of the following areas: cognitive, functional and adaptive skills, physical skills, school readiness, reading, writing, communication and language, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math, computer science, economics, history, social studies, geography, civics, foreign languages (excluding games for foreign language), general study skills, social skills, dispositions, and behaviors that support academic and other important school-related outcomes (e.g., high school graduation rates), or transition outcomes for secondary students with disabilities.

or

b. to improve the efficiency or accuracy with which teachers or service delivery providers carry out their administrative responsibilities (e.g., recording and transmitting information to a central database, monitoring progress on Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals).

Examples of products could include:

  • A computer-based instructional program for biology that is paired with a haptic hardware device to improve science outcomes for students with visual impairments.
  • An intelligent tutor designed to teach basic mathematics concepts for students with or at risk for learning disabilities that monitors students' incremental progress.
  • An interactive technology that is intended to help young children with autism learn to read facial expressions.
  • A personal computing device or handheld device to help early intervention service providers record improvements in developmental skills of toddlers with developmental disabilities and present data in a way that can be easily understood by parents.
  • An online program to help with the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs).

Specifications:

Types of Products

  • Products may create or adapt existing technologies specifically to enhance outcomes for or enable access by infants, toddlers, or students with disabilities.
  • Products may be, but are not limited to, products that: provide instruction or intervention, replace existing curricula, supplement existing curricula, or assess student learning to inform instructional practice.
  • Products may be in the following forms, but are not limited to: software (e.g., intelligent tutors, assessment engines, games), digital format readers, multi-media products (e.g., videoconferencing, or television programs), on-line instruction (e.g., "e-learning" products, distance learning products, or virtual worlds), or other education technology (e.g., interactive whiteboards, clickers, personal computing devices, tables, or handheld devices).

Definitions

  • Proposals in the area of special education are restricted to research and development for infants, toddlers, or students with disabilities or at risk for disabilities. For the purpose of the Department's R/R&D programs, a student with a disability is defined in Public Law 108-446, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), as a child ? "(i) with mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance (referred to in this title as 'emotional disturbance'), orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and (ii) who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services" (Part A, Sec. 602).
  • An infant or toddler with a disability is defined in IDEA as, ? "an individual under 3 years of age who needs early intervention services because the individual (i) is experiencing developmental delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures in 1 or more of the areas of cognitive development, physical development, communication development, social or emotional development, and adaptive development; or (ii) has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay" (Part C, Sec. 632).

Product Usage

  • Products must be for use in schools, alternative school settings, early intervention or early childhood special education settings, or supplemental education services as defined in Section 1116(e) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
  • Products to be used with infants and toddlers receiving early intervention services may be implemented in other natural settings (e.g., home-based, child care settings, family-focused interventions). Products for prekindergarten through grade 12 students must be implemented as school-based alone or as school-based with a home or community component.

Age and Grade Level

  • Products for use by or with individuals with disabilities or at risk for disabilities must be for individuals from infancy through grade 12.
  • Products for use by teachers, intervention delivery providers in early intervention or special education programs, or parents or family members, must be for serving individuals with or at risk for disabilities from infancy through grade 12.

Measures and Outcomes

  • All applicants must include measures of child or student outcomes. The Department defines child or student outcomes as those measures of development, learning, and achievement that are important to parents, teachers, and school administrators (e.g., school readiness for young children, grades, achievement test scores, graduation rates, percentage of time spent in the general education environment).
  • Transition outcomes for middle or high school students include the behavioral, social, communicative, functional, occupational, and academic skills that enable young adults with disabilities to obtain and hold meaningful employment, live independently, and obtain further training and education (e.g., postsecondary education, vocational education programs).

Other Specifications

  • Products may address the needs of students with disabilities who are also English language learners.
  • IES SBIR encourages research on high-incidence (e.g., specific learning disability) and low-incidence disabilities (e.g., visual impairments).

Potential applicants proposing to study children at risk for disabilities should present research-based evidence of an association between risk factors in their proposed sample and the potential identification of disabilities. The determination of at-risk status must be made on an individual child basis and may include, for example, factors used for moving children to higher tiers in a Response to Intervention model. The method to be used for determining at-risk status should be made explicit in proposals and should be completed as part of the sample selection process. Evidence consisting only of general population characteristics (e.g., labeling all children in a school or district as "at risk for disabilities" because of community socioeconomic characteristics) is not sufficient for this purpose.