Autism is a neurobehavioral condition that causes a child to have difficulty communicating with others. Because they aren’t able to understand how others feel and think, it is very difficult for them to use words, gestures, touch, and facial expressions when communicating with others. With virtual reality autism can be overcome.
All too often, a child with autism has fears or phobias of interacting with others. Children with autism may be fearful of a variety of situations. For instance, one autistic child may be afraid to go shopping, and another may be afraid of a social gathering. Another autistic child may be terrified of heights, while another may be afraid to be in a crowd. These different phobias can be so difficult for some children that it may be necessary to limit their activities. Virtual reality has been found to help autistic children live a more normal life by teaching them to manage these everyday situations.
What is Virtual Reality Therapy?
Using a computer, virtual reality therapy can mimic various situations in the world. Its multi-senses can be created to provide auditory and visual environments that copy a setting. Virtual reality therapy allows an autistic child to overcome his or her fears. They can face their fears in a safe setting instead of a setting that scares them.
The child uses an avatar and makes it interacts with others. With virtual reality therapy , the child’s avatar is moved by him or her through the program. The therapist observes the child’s avatar actions and coaches the child while giving the child feedback at the same time. This allows a child to pause, repeat, or review the actions of his or her avatar allowing the child to build confidence about how to handle a situation he or she is afraid of.
How Virtual Reality Therapy Helps Autistic Children
Virtual reality therapy helps autistic children to be comfortable in social a setting that usually frightens them. Emotion recognition and the enhancement of teaching of social cognition skills helps autistic children to pick up the social signal many people take for granted. Children with autism are uncomfortable with social interactions that avatar-based virtual reality programs can help.[adsense]
The regions of the brain of a child can be rewired to develop social skills. Areas of information and attention exchange can be amplified by virtual reality therapy. The foundations of conversation such as an awareness, understanding of social signals, and a higher perception of the back and forth exchanges can be increased.
Not only are social skills taught for attending school, going to the mall, sitting for a job interview, or going on a date, virtual reality therapy has also helped children overcome physical situations like phobias surrounding crowds of people, fear of heights, and traveling on a bus filled with students.
If an autistic child is frightened by heights, virtual reality therapy can use an avatar to create a situation such as a child crossing a bridge or riding an escalator. As the child learns to desensitize his or her fear, a scenario is created to slowly introduce the child to a similar situation.
These real-life situations can be transferred to the new skills of an autistic child. A child’s specific fears can be targeted by virtual reality therapy allowing the child to cope with his or her fears even when under stress.