Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social and daily living skills of individuals diagnosed with it. This project explores how teachers and psychologists can use the new wave of consumer VR technologies as a tool to help children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD. The emergence of affordable and high fidelity virtual reality hardware and software enables the opportunity to place the users diagnosed with ASD inside relevant, interactive virtual environments within which they can receive appropriate treatment for their social and daily living skills deficits. In addition to allowing the training to take place in virtual environments resembling the real-world environments within which the desired skills are to be performed by users diagnosed with ASD, VR hardware supporting 6DoF also allows the interactions in these environments to be similar to interactions required in the real-world environment of the desired skills. In close cooperation with teachers and psychologists working with children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD, several VR interventions are designed, developed, evaluated, and presented in this thesis. These interventions address several social and daily living skills required for independent adulthood, such as shopping, safe street crossing, money management, turn-taking, sharing, disruptive classroom behavior, and social anxiety.
Ali Adjorlu is the PhD student doing the project under the supervision of Stefania Serafin. Additionally, lab members Lars Koreska Andersen, Nicklas Andersen and Emil Rosenlund Høeg have assisted the PhD student during the duration of the project. Furthermore, during the project, there has been a close cooperation with schools for children and adolescents diagnosed with mental disabilities from Rødovre municipality. Finally, Ali Adjorlu has cooperated with a number of international researchers such as Vito Gentile, Davide Rocchesso and Salvatore Sorce from Università degli Studi di Palermo and Nathaly Belen Betancourt Barriga from University of Trento.
Selected publications: Virtual Reality Therapy, Virtual Reality (VR) for Children Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Interventions to Train Social and Everyday Living Skills, Daily Living Skills Training in Virtual Reality to Help Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Real Shopping Scenario, Head-Mounted Display-Based Virtual Reality as a Tool to Teach Money Skills to Adolescents Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Teachers' Views on how to use Virtual Reality to Instruct Children and Adolescents Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder