Virtual Reality Autism Demystification

Virtual Reality Autism Demystification

Changing the Game for Individuals with Autism and Their Peers

“You need to go and try that out.” said James Jacobs, CEO of Ziva Dynamics and a father of a child on the autism spectrum. James was referring to a virtual reality (VR) experience he had just demoed at a conference. Unbeknownst to James, this statement would begin a three-year journey towards the development of our Virtual Reality Autism Demystification program.

At the time, Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society (Friend 2 Friend) had just opened our second play centre. We were buried in work however, we somehow found the time to make the trip to Valve to try out the VR demo. The entire trip back to Vancouver I could not stop talking about how VR could be the perfect vehicle for fostering friendships between individuals with autism and their peers.

Flash forward three years, Friend 2 Friend has just completed our Virtual Reality Autism Demystification demo. With the support of Autism Speaks Canada and Archiact, we have created a VR experience based on our real-life Autism Demystification Simulation Game.

Simulation Game

Like its real-life counterpart, the new Virtual Reality Autism Demystification demo uses the Friend 2 Friend evidence-based Autism Demystification® model to create a multi-sensory VR experience. The demo focuses on highlighting the sensory and social-communication challenges individuals with autism face at school and supports users to understand what it may feel like to have autism. As well as, illustrates the importance of understanding, acceptance, and empathy in aiding social inclusion and the development of friendships.

Being new to virtual reality, the evolution of the real-life program into a three-minute demo has been challenging. Therefore, the Friend 2 Friend team has spent the last seven months working intensely translating our ‘Simon Says’ spelling test into a sensory challenging VR spelling test.

Friend 2 Friend will spend the next four months user testing our Virtual Reality Autism Demystification demo throughout BC and abroad. Data collected from the user testing will support the creation of the full Virtual Reality Autism Demystification program.

With the launch of our unique and innovative Virtual Reality Autism Demystification demo, Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society once again demonstrates its place as a global leader in designing unique evidence-based, educational programs that bring together individuals with autism and their peers in the true spirit of play and friendships.

Interested in testing our VRADP demo? Visit us at the following events:

  • Sept 21, 2018, VR/AR Global Summit., Vancouver, BC
  • Sept 30, 2018, Autism Speaks Walk, Vancouver, BC
  • Oct 20, 2018, AASCEND Conference, San Francisco, Cal

Or contact our office to set up an appointment.

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