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Abstract Details

A Survey of Virtual Reality Interventions for Autistic Spectrum Disorder Therapy: A Neuroscience Perspective
Aging, Dementia, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neurology
P1 - Poster Session 1 (8:00 AM-9:00 AM)
2-006

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) characterizes a taxonomy of disorders affecting social communication and interactive behaviors. Researchers in affective computing have begun to use virtual reality as a therapy tool for autistic individuals. This technology has demonstrated significant potential as our understanding of the social-communication deficits in autism increases. We conducted a literature review investigating the efficacy of virtual reality as an intervention for autism.  

This review evaluates the clinical efficacy of virtual reality as a behavioral modification tool to teach and support the social-communication needs of ASD children.

A search was conducted using Google Scholar, PubMed, IEEE Xplore, CDC, and the National Autism Center databases. The search keywords were: “Affective computing Autism” OR “Affective computing ASD”. 

Five articles were included in our analysis.

Emotional facial expression recognition tasks: ASD Children demonstrated significant increases in paired t-tests comparisons of pre and post-training performance in NEPSYII Affect recognition t(24)= -3.40, p=0.001 and Attention and executive function “Fluid reasoning” t(17)=-2.33, p=0.016. Significant increases were noted on the pre-training assessment for social attribution Triangles intentionality t(23) =-2.28, p=0.016. 88% of participants accurately identified the emotional expressions portrayed by a virtual avatar.

Emotional regulation tasks: VRE therapy yielded results that persisted 12 to 16 months after treatment. 89% of children were able to diminish phobia-induced anxiety and four children overcame their phobias.

Virtual reality receptivity in ASD:  Virtual embodied agents effectively elicited continued affective and social conversational behaviors in ASD children for approximately 60 minutes.  ASD children also reported significantly higher ratings of enjoyability t(38)= 2.26; P= 0.03)) while using virtual technology compared to experimental controls.

Use of virtual reality as a tool for behavioral modification revealed positive application with enduring results, by demonstrating: (1) conversational spontaneity, (2) social appraisal, (3) emotional recognition, (4) anxiety and fear reduction, and (5) social-skill acquisition in autistic children. 

Authors/Disclosures
Dana Allison
PRESENTER
Ms. Allison has nothing to disclose.
Patricia Prelock, PhD (University of Vermont) Dr. Prelock has received personal compensation in the range of $500-$4,999 for serving as an Editor, Associate Editor, or Editorial Advisory Board Member for Springer Publishing. The institution of Dr. Prelock has received research support from PCORI. The institution of Dr. Prelock has received research support from HRSA. Dr. Prelock has received publishing royalties from a publication relating to health care. Dr. Prelock has received publishing royalties from a publication relating to health care. Dr. Prelock has received publishing royalties from a publication relating to health care.