VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) is an assuring and beneficial technology for aiding individuals with autism spectrum disorder, especially children, for learning practical life skills. However, its immersive nature raises the two queries: can individuals with autism communicate successfully with VR tools? and do they suffer any unfavourable sensory or physiological effects? Since the 1990s, various studies have shown that VR, as well as immersive virtual environments (VE) are both safe and pertinent for individuals on the spectrum.
Why favour VR for Autism?
• A safe and controlled environment, under the guidance of a therapist
• Handy practices and unlimited repetitions
• Insistence on visual and auditory cues
• Individualized experience
• Preference for computerised interactions
• Possibilities for non-verbal interactions
Technology might not change your disability, but can make your environment easier to navigate. Disability is just a word until and unless a person’s will and skill are confined. VR captivates the senses and make a person feel as if they can, do anything or grab anything. Its so magical to see the crestfallen children back to life!!! The VR technology can be defined as Godsent, to yield care and benevolence for the disabled. VR is a good medium to seize the attention of children with autism for coaching and training purpose. VR includes exergames, which gives the person a multisensory experience, by manipulating and adapting according to the characteristics and capabilities of the subject. Scenarios based on skills such as social, emotional, cognitive, daily activities, communication, attention, physical activities, phobias etc. are included in such games.
One of the main advantages of VR is that, it allows the simulation of everyday life situations so that prescribed training can be done in a therapist-controlled safe environment. This interesting when the treatment is focused on the training and improvement of social, cognitive and selfcare skills. In addition, this type of intervention can be developed further to obtain the improvement of the subjects. Thus, the therapists can follow up and give feedback or possible repetitions of the tasks. VR-based technologies can increase the motivation and cohesion of patients as well as their enthusiasm in the therapeutic program, as autism is diagnosed in children and many of the interventions are performed during adolescence and youth.
Virtual Reality thus helps in bridging the gap between the individuals and the environment!!