Cognitive Training Using Virtual Reality Effective for Kids on the Spectrum

February 21, 2021

The New Technology Provides a Safe Controllable Environment for Therapies

A recent study published in Current Research in Behavioral Sciences theorizes that cognitive training through the use of virtual reality (VR) technology may now be a feasible autism treatment. Researchers have been interested in using VR to help children with autism connect with the world for decades. Accessibility has typically been regarded as the key benefit of VR  since families in remote locations could easily use the technology at home. VR has also been viewed as a way to reduce the variation of quality between service treatment sites. Due to these reasons researchers in China decided to investigate VR for children with autism. They designed a study that recruited 120 children (88 boys, 32 girls) on the spectrum. The average age of the participants was 4.8 years. The children were broken into two groups of 60. All 120 children were exposed to two 30-minute VR sessions each day for four weeks. The treatment group received cognitive therapy during their VR sessions, while the control group watched animated videos of island tourism. At the end of the four weeks, the children exposed to the cognitive training based VR exhibited significant improvements in sociability, speech, varied interests, and adaptability. The control group did not show  significant improvements in those same skills. The study concluded that cognitive training through VR is a very useful, enjoyable and an attractive therapy option for children on the spectrum. 

Original Study

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