The broad, long-term objectives of this project are to design, build, and evaluate the efficacy of video enhanced virtual reality restaurant social skill instruction for children with autism.
Specific aims are: 1) Design a virtual reality (VR) scenario for children with autism that will teach appropriate behavior in a restaurant; 2) Incorporate this design into an interactive computer program using animated characters and videos demonstrating similar real world social situations; 3) Demonstrate the efficacy of the instructional software through use of applied behavior analysis and single subjects design. The learning environment afforded by video enhanced VR may help individuals with autism master difficult social skills by providing individualized practice in controllable, non-threatening worlds. The research design and methods for achieving these goals are: 1) Choose children who have been diagnosed with autism; 2) Design, program, and debug a PC based VR restaurant environment and appropriate video scenarios; 3) Conduct trials to evaluate the results using n, multiple baselines across subjects design.
Virtual reality learning environments would have a broad market appeal for children, parents, teachers. and health practitioners for teaching social behavior to children with autism and related learning disabilities. A present company web site provides products for autism language and safety skills, allowing an in-place cost effective delivery and support system for this new product.