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You are in: Home > Articles > How to support Autism with Virtual Reality

How to support Autism with Virtual Reality

Inclusive ClassVR is a great tool for engaging students through the power of virtual and augmented reality. We have seen these devices being used successfully with hundreds of students, and one group in particular who we repeatedly see great results with has been students with ASD.

We have collected a range of ideas and strategies for using Inclusive ClassVR below. We hope that you will find some of these helpful in supporting and engaging your learners with Autism.

Creating a safe space

Creating a safe space

The world can get a bit overwhelming at times, and it’s not always possible to find a quiet space to allow your students to calm down. Inclusive ClassVR offers an alternative way to enable your students to manage their own feelings and re-focus. By transporting your students to immersive sensory experiences like a relaxing waterfall or a beach view, they can feel more serene, especially so if it’s a place they've been to several times before.

Practicing new experiences

Practicing new experiences

Whether it’s flying for the first time or going on a school trip, a lot of new experiences can be as stressful as they are exciting. By immersing your student in a 360 degree video of that new place, you can help them to prepare for the trip. Your learner can familiarize themselves with the sights and sounds of the new location as many times as they like, until it doesn’t feel as new and scary. Inclusive ClassVR can help ease children into new experiences and reduce the anxiety that they feel towards the unknown.

Preparing for transitions

Preparing for transitions

Moving to a new classroom can be an intimidating thought, but with Inclusive ClassVR, you can practice it before the real thing. If you have a 360 degree camera, you can record the new location and bring your student on a virtual tour of this new space to help familiarize them. By walking through a scenario and talking through things like where they might like to sit, and where the teacher will be, your students will be more confident going into the new situation.

Developing social skills

Developing social skills

Inclusive ClassVR can be a valuable tool for developing joint attention - the shared attention with another person on a common object. This can be achieved by two or more learners wearing headsets at the same time and exploring a location together, or a single student with a teacher guiding them through what they are seeing. Both situations open up opportunities to discuss what your learners are seeing, ask them questions, and focus on a shared experience together.

Encouraging empathy

Encouraging empathy

Virtual reality makes it easy to step into the shoes of another person and experience their point of view. This first-person perspective can be a great way for developing Theory of Mind in a student with ASD, but the applications don’t stop there. Certain VR experiences can enable anyone to experience what it can be like to live with autism. By better understanding the sensory overload and the feelings of anxiety which often accompany Autism, it can provide understanding of how someone with ASD may view situations and how this can lead to certain behaviours. This means that Inclusive ClassVR can be a valuable tool for staff who want to develop a better understanding of their ASD students.

Inclusive ClassVR provides everything you need to implement VR in your school!

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