The broad objectives of the project are to develop a commercially feasible virtual reality instructional aid for children with autism and demonstrate efficacy.
Specific aims are: (1) Build a home computer-based VR system for children with autism based on the system developed in Phase I. (2) Develop instructional software in areas that parents and educators have defined as critical; safety, social interaction, and language development. (3) Demonstrate the efficacy of the instructional software. (4) Demonstrate that VR-delivered instructional provides advantages over conventional instruction. (5) Demonstrate that the instructional tools are easily used in classrooms. Methods for achieving the goals are: (1) Children in the school system who have been diagnosed with autism will be chosen. (2) The VR software program developed for Phase I will be modified to provide the critical learning environments. (3) Applied behavior analysis and single subject design will be used to document the efficacy and advantages of VR instruction and to establish a comparison to conventional techniques in techniques in terms of (a) increased safety when learning living skills, (b) reduction in staff time needed for instruction, (c) decreased distractibility in children during instruction, and (d) decreased time needed to learn a skill. (4) Field tests will be conducted in the classrooms to document that instruction remain effective when used by teachers rather than research personnel.
Virtual reality as an educational and treatment tool for individuals with mental health needs is now being evaluated by more than 100 university and medial centers around the world. A product which could provide treatment that reduces learning skills time would be marketable to parents, schools, therapists and hospitals.
|Strickland, Dorothy C; McAllister, David; Coles, Claire D et al. (2007) An Evolution of Virtual Reality Training Designs for Children With Autism and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Top Lang Disord 27:226-241|