Using Virtual Environments for Teaching Social Understanding to 6 Adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 04/2007; 37(3):589-600. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0189-8
Source: PubMed


Six teenagers with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) experienced a Virtual Environment (VE) of a café. They also watched three sets of videos of real cafés and buses and judged where they would sit and explained why. Half of the participants received their VE experience between the first and second sets of videos, and half experienced it between the second and third. Ten naïve raters independently coded participants' judgments and reasoning. In direct relation to the timing of VE use, there were several instances of significant improvement in judgments and explanations about where to sit, both in a video of a café and a bus. The results demonstrate the potential of Virtual Reality for teaching social skills.

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    • "Firstly, multimodal constructive feedback (Bernard-Opitz et al. 2001; Parsons et al. 2004) is given with the purpose to inform the user about a correct or incorrect choice. According to this principle, the feedback was provided to the users in two different modes, image and sound (Mitchell et al. 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) have been successfully used in educational interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) for overcoming their persistent differences related to social communication and imagination. This paper investigates the potential of VLEs presenting Social Stories, as an advantageous pathway for the development of social problem skills in children with ASC. To this end, it presents the design and development of VLSS (Virtual Learning Environment with Social Stories), a prototype three-dimensional VLE for children with ASC. Overall, the evaluation of VLSS by 40 experts (special education teachers) was very positive, indicating that VLSS has the potential to be a beneficial and easy-to-use educational tool for enhancing social problem solving in children with ASC.
    Education and Information Technologies 05/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10639-015-9409-1
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    • "However, in an intervention method research conducted by Ruble and McGrew (2007), results showed that parents agreed that educational and behavioural interventions are more effective. In addition, the impact of education cannot be overemphasized as it has been identified as a relative cure for the impairments in children with autism (Mitchell et al. 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of education on children with autism serves as a relative cure for their deficits. As a result of this, they require special techniques to gain their attention and interest in learning as compared to typical children. Several studies have shown that these children are visual learners. In this study, we proposed a Visual Hybrid Development Learning System (VHDLS) framework that is based on an instructional design model, multimedia cognitive learning theory, and learning style in order to guide software developers in developing learning systems for children with autism. The results from this study showed that the attention of children with autism increased more with the proposed VHDLS framework.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 05/2015; 45(10). DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2469-7 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    • "In this context, interventions based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) appear to be of special interest as they present several advantages for individuals with ASC: 1) these individuals usually show a strong interest in electronic media and devices [26,27]; 2) these devices operate according to predictable rules and the information provided is clear, structured and unambiguous [28]; 3) ICT do not involve complex socio-emotional expectations [29,30]; and 4) ICT may include virtual or synthetic environments, allowing individuals to experiment with various social situations, while reducing their social anxiety, as well as the fear of failing or of rejection that these individuals with ASC often experience in real face-to-face interactions [31,32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is widely accepted that emotion processing difficulties are involved in Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). An increasing number of studies have focused on the development of training programs and have shown promising results. However, most of these programs are appropriate for individuals with high-functioning ASC (HFA) but exclude individuals with low-functioning ASC (LFA). We have developed a computer-based game called JeStiMulE based on logical skills to teach emotions to individuals with ASC, independently of their age, intellectual, verbal and academic level. The aim of the present study was to verify the usability of JeStiMulE (which is its adaptability, effectiveness and efficiency) on a heterogeneous ASC group. We hypothesized that after JeStiMulE training, a performance improvement would be found in emotion recognition tasks. A heterogeneous group of thirty-three children and adolescents with ASC received two one-hour JeStiMulE sessions per week over four weeks. In order to verify the usability of JeStiMulE, game data were collected for each participant. Furthermore, all participants were presented before and after training with five emotion recognition tasks, two including pictures of game avatars (faces and gestures) and three including pictures of real-life characters (faces, gestures and social scenes). Descriptive data showed suitable adaptability, effectiveness and efficiency of JeStiMulE. Results revealed a significant main effect of Session on avatars (ANOVA: F (1,32) = 98.48, P < .001) and on pictures of real-life characters (ANOVA: F (1,32) = 49.09, P < .001). A significant Session × Task × Emotion interaction was also found for avatars (ANOVA: F (6,192) = 2.84, P = .01). This triple interaction was close to significance for pictures of real-life characters (ANOVA: F (12,384) = 1.73, P = .057). Post-hoc analyses revealed that 30 out of 35 conditions found a significant increase after training. JeStiMulE appears to be a promising tool to teach emotion recognition not only to individuals with HFA but also those with LFA. JeStiMulE is thus based on ASC-specific skills, offering a model of logical processing of social information to compensate for difficulties with intuitive social processing. Trial registration Comité de Protection des Personnes Sud Méditerranée V (CPP): reference number 11.046 (
    Molecular Autism 07/2014; 5(1):37. DOI:10.1186/2040-2392-5-37 · 5.41 Impact Factor
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