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The Controversy of Using Virtual Environments to Teach Social Skills to Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders By Sarah Baudains, Sara Andargachew,

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Presentation on theme: "The Controversy of Using Virtual Environments to Teach Social Skills to Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders By Sarah Baudains, Sara Andargachew,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Controversy of Using Virtual Environments to Teach Social Skills to Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders By Sarah Baudains, Sara Andargachew, Clara Bentall and Lucy Aston

2 Introduction Autism – Impairment in social interactions – Impairment in communication – Repetitive and stereotyped behaviour Previous methods of social skills training Virtual Reality Virtual Environments

3 Virtual Environments for Social Skills Training:Comments from two adolescents with ASD – Parsons et al 2003 Aims – To investigate whether participants relate their use of the VE to experiences in the real world and whether they enjoy using the VE to learn – To provide examples of the exchanges taking place between the participant and the facilitator during the use of the VE, therefore showing the importance of the facilitator

4 Screen shot of café VE illustrating the key functions of the program.


6 Style of Technology How can social skills be taught in the absence of real social interaction? Need to avoid the children simply learning which buttons to press. The importance of a facilitator, to avoid the VEs becoming meaningless stand-alone activities (Parsons et al., 2004). Autistic individuals may find the non-social nature of computer-based tasks so appealing that they become overly reliant on the technology (Howlin, 1998).

7 How realistic should VEs be? Does the VE have to be experienced in the most immersive way possible to be effective? Head-mounted displays could cause cybersickness: nausea, headaches and dizziness (Cobb et al, 1999). Unpopular with children who have autism.

8 Improving the Technology The desktop VEs used in Parsons study most appropriate style of technology. Could improve gaze direction and facial expressions and building in more spontaneity. Too much detail may be counter-productive (Cromby, 1996). The development of collaborative VEs may be beneficial (Parsons et al, 2004).

9 Methodology Qualitative approach – Generalisation restrictions – The voice of the individual Participants learn at different rates and in contrasting ways (Parsons et. al. 2004, p.13) – Exploratory research Picking up on spontaneously volunteered information (Parsons et al., 2004, p.10)

10 Combining findings – Value of combining approaches – Case study as part of wider AS Interactive Project Use of an iterative process Methodology continued

11 User-centred development – Involvement of representative users – Technology vs. research led design – Multi-disciplinary collaboration (involvement of autism professionals, teachers and people with ASDs) Self-report – Accessing the views of people with ASDs – Limitations communication is a key deficit in autism (Moore et al., 2000, p.220) – Possibilities

12 Autism and VE: the controversies Repetition of responses Physical and literal responses Treating the VE like a game Testing out the responses Enjoyment of the VE

13 Conclusions Benefits Limitations Success dependent on aims of VE

14 References Charitos, D., Karadanos, G., Sereti, E., Triantafillou, S., Koukouvinou, S. and Martakos, D. (2000). Employing virtual reality for aiding the organisation of autistic children behaviour in everyday tasks. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality & Associated Technology, Alghero, Italy, Cheng, Y., Moore, D. and McGrath, P. (2002). Virtual Learning Environments for Children with Autism. (WWW) ng.pdf Cobb, S., Beardon, L., Eastgate, R., Glover, T., Kerr, S., & Neale, H., et al. (2002). Applied Virtual Environments to support learning of Social Interaction Skills in users with Asperger_s Syndrome. Digital Creativity, 13, 11 – 22. Cromby J., Standen p. J., Brown D.E. & Newman J. (1994) Virtual reality and special education: grounding practice in theory. Proceeding of the British Psychological Society (The psychologist). 3(24): Cromby, J., Standen, P., Newman, J., & Tasker. H. (1996). Successful transfer to the real world of skills practised in a virtual environment by students with severe learning disabilities. Proceedings of the First European Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality, and Associated Technologies. Maindenhead, Berkshire, UK, Frith, U. (1989). Autism: explaining the enigma. Oxford: Blackwell

15 Howlin P., Baron-Cohen, S., Hadwin J., & Hill, K. (1996). Can we teach children with autism understand emotions belief or pretence? Development and Psychopathology, 8: Howlin, P. (1997). Autism: Preparing for adulthood. London: Routledge. Moore, M., & Calvert, S. (2000). Brief report: vocabulary acquisition for children with Autism: teacher or computer instruction. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 359–362. Howlin, P. (1998). Practitioner Review: psychological and educational treatments for autism. Journal of Child Psychology, 39, Koegel, R., L., Koegel, L., K., & McNerney, E., K., (2001) Pivotal areas in intervention for autism. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 30:19-32 Mitchell, P., Saltmarsh, R., & Russell, H., (1997) Overly literal interpretations of speech in autism: understanding that messages arise from minds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38: Moore, M., & Calvert, S., (200) Brief Report: Vocabulary Acquisition for Children with autism: teacher of computer instruction. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 30: Moore, D.J., McGrath, P. Thorpe, J. (2000). 'Computer Aided Learning for people with autism - a framework for research and development', Innovations in Education and Training International, 37 (3), Neale, H.R., Cobb, S.V. Kerr, S. and Leonard, A. (2002). Exploring the role of Virtual Environments in the Special Needs Classroom. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies, Veszprem, Hungary, September 2002, Neale, H., Leonard, A., & Kerr, S., (2002) Exploring the role of virtual encironments in the special needs classroom. In P. Sharkey, C., Sik Lanyi & P., Standen (Eds)Proceedings of the fourth ICDVRAT pp veszprem Hungary 18 th -20 th September 2002 Parsons, S. & Mitchell, P. (2002). The potential of virtual reality in social skills training for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 46,

16 Parsons, S., Leonard, A. & Mitchell, P. (in press). Virtual environments for social skills training: Comments from two adolescents. Computers and Education. Parsons, S., Beardon, L., Neale, H. R., Reynard, G., Eastgate, R., Wilson, J. R., Cobb, S. V., Benford, S., Mitchell, P., & Hopkins, E. (2000). Development of social skills amongst adults with Aspergers Syndrome using virtual environments. Proceedings of International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies, Sardinia, University of Reading, Parsons, S., Mitchell, P., & Leonard, A. Do adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders adhere to social conventions in virtual environments? Autism 9: Russell, P. (1996). Listening to children with disabilities and special educational needs. In R. Davie, G. Upton and V. Varma (eds) The Voice of the Child: A Handbook for Professionals. London: Falmer Press. Salem-Darrow M (1995) "Virtual reality's increasing potential for meeting needs of persons with disabilities: what about cognitive impairments?" Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Virtual Reality and Persons with Disabilities. Northridge CA: California State University Center on Disabilities. Selwyn, N. (2000). Researching computers and education – glimpses of the wider picture. Computers and Education, 34, Standen, P.J., Brown D. J. & Cromby, J. (2001). The effective use of virtual environments in the education and rehabilitation of students with intellectual disabilities. British Journal of Educational Technology, 32(3), Strickland,D., Marcus, L., Mesibov, G. B. and Hogan, K. (1996). Brief report: two case studies using virtual reality as a learning tool for autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26, Yates, (1993). Social skills training. In Children with Asperger syndrome, A Collection of Papers from Two Study Weekends run by the Inge Wakehurst Trust, , Inge Wakehurst Trust, London.

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