08 Mar Virtual Reality the Key to Friendships for Children with Autism
Virtual Reality Autism Demystification Programs
Changing the Game for children with autism and their peers.
18 months ago, I traveled to Seattle WA to visit Valve. Valve is a company that develops gaming software. I was fortunate enough to be invited to try out the Vive, at that time a new Virtual Reality system.
I am not a “gamer” and honestly know very little about gaming. Therefore, I would say I was moderately uncomfortable with the visit. However, my discomfort level left me quickly upon arriving at Valve and putting on the Vive. I was transported immediately into the deep sea where I was “swimming” with whales. I then made a meal, painted on a life size canvas and finally walked as a giant in San Francisco finding my dear friend Pamela’s house using Google Earth. It was a remarkable experience.
On the more than 3-hour trip back to Vancouver BC, I never stopped talking about how VR could change the face of intervention for children with autism. And how VR would be a natural extension of the Friend 2 Friend Autism Demystification® programs we have been delivering for more than 15 years.
The concept is simple: The Virtual Reality Autism Demystification programs addresses the social and communication needs of individuals with autism. Using our signature Autism Demystification® programs, we are now creating a multiplatform VR-based educational game that enables peers, educators, parents and coworkers to understand what it feels like to have autism. Like all Friend 2 Friend programs our VRADP will go beyond understanding by teaching prosocial communication strategies to enhance social interactions and friendships. VRADP combines technology, education and gaming to enable participants worldwide to use our unique VRADP to foster understanding, acceptance, empathy and social inclusion for individuals on the autism spectrum.
I am so thrilled to be preparing to launch our “proof of concept” (as they say in the developing world) or what I call a “demo” this spring. Our very first Virtual Reality Autism Demystification program.