Virtual Reality Technology as an Educational and Intervention Tool for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Current Perspectives and Future Directions

Minyue Zhang, Hongwei Ding, Meri Naumceska, Yang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

The worldwide rising trend of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) calls for innovative and efficacious techniques for assessment and treatment. Virtual reality (VR) technology gains theoretical support from rehabilitation and pedagogical theories and offers a variety of capabilities in educational and interventional contexts with affordable products. VR is attracting increasing attention in the medical and healthcare industry, as it provides fully interactive three-dimensional simulations of real-world settings and social situations, which are particularly suitable for cognitive and performance training, including social and interaction skills. This review article offers a summary of current perspectives and evidence-based VR applications for children with ASD, with a primary focus on social communication, including social functioning, emotion recognition, and speech and language. Technology-and design-related limitations, as well as disputes over the application of VR to autism research and therapy, are discussed, and future directions of this emerging field are highlighted with regards to application expansion and improvement, technology enhancement, linguistic diversity, and the development of theoretical models and brain-based research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by grants from the Major Project of National Social Science Foundation of China (18ZDA293). Y.Z. was additionally supported by the SEED grant and Brain Imaging Grant from the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • childhood and adolescence
  • education
  • intervention
  • virtual reality

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