[Translation (French - English) : EPALE France]
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience persistent difficulties in social interaction and communication. The lack of social skills makes it difficult for them to navigate standard everyday situations and to get a job. As a result, they are often victims of social exclusion. To help these people, several organizations around the world have begun to develop virtual reality as a form of therapy for autism. In Europe, a few people have developed virtual reality programmes for autism, including Dr Nigel Newbutt of UWE Bristol. He has studied virtual reality and its impact on autism. He concluded that it helps students with ASD navigate the world around them. In the United States, other organizations, such as Floreo and the Dan Marino Foundation, use virtual reality for people with ASD, helping them to develop their social and vocational skills.
With this in mind, VIFIN, a research centre of the Municipality of Vejle (Denmark) has set up an Erasmus Plus project involving France (Pistes-Solidaires, Pau), Cyprus (Synthesis, Nicosia), Germany (Wisamar Educational Institute, Leipzig) and the United Kingdom (LBHF, London).
VIFIN is a centre working on the creation, dissemination and integration of good practices in the field of social integration and development at local, regional, national and international levels, specialising in the development of digital resources and virtual reality environments.
Autism-VR deals with the social inclusion and employment of people with ASD. This project will develop virtual reality tools that will use simulations of everyday situations to train and enhance the social skills of adults with ASD and improve their ability to navigate standard situations. The innovative aspect of the project is that the content will be developed by people with ASD, meaning that the tools will be made by those who will also use them for training. They will also create a manual to raise awareness among employers of the difficulties encountered by people with ASD in order to promote their professional integration.
In order to achieve this end objective, the partners will:
- conduct a needs analysis and design for the virtual reality environment, based on interviews with individuals with ASD and parents and professionals working with individuals with ASD
- develop and implement virtual reality content
- train key individuals who support people with ASD in the use of virtual reality tools
- create a manual for employing people with ASD, including good practice
Pistes-Solidaires, which is in charge of setting up the project in France, has initiated the research phase. The next transnational meeting, which will take place in Leipzig at the end of March 2020, will be an opportunity to validate the everyday situations that will be the subject of the virtual environments.
For more information, please visit the project's website: https://www.autism-vr.eu
Contact: Nicolas Condom (firstname.lastname@example.org