Applications of Virtual Reality for Autism Inclusion. A review


Vasiliki Bravou, Despoina Oikonomidou, Athanasios Drigas


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder present several difficulties in social interaction, communication obstaclesand restricted and repeated behaviors. Social connection with others is typically challenging for them, and they are frequentlyunsure of how to react to other people’s emotions, facial expressions, and movements of their body, and especially of how torespond to various social circumstances. Recent review studies regarding VR for children with ASD have found that most ofthe relevant interventions aimed at improving social and emotional skills, as well as common activities of everyday life. In thiswork, we are going to present studies of the most current applications of VR technologies to the education of students withASD with the aim to gain an updated overview of the use of VR in this field. A thorough search was conducted in Scopus andPubmed databases, as well as through Google Scholar, using the keywords ‘Virtual Reality’, ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’,‘application’, ‘intervention’, ‘students’, ‘education’ and their combinations, for the period 2015–2021. Our search was limitedto studies presented in English. A total of eight (8) studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the results we describedwere positive and quite encouraging, as the deficits in these domains are life- determining for individuals with ASD. Given thatmany barriers (e.g., regarding cost and comfort issues) to using the VR technologies have been overcome, more effort shouldbe put to the production of wider and more robust experimental research in the specific field, as well as to the testing ofgeneralizability issues in real life