Enhance affective expression and social reciprocity for children with autism spectrum disorder: using virtual reality headsets at schools

Horace H.S. Ip, Simpson W.L. Wong, Dorothy F.Y. Chan, Richard Chen Li, Lo Lo Kon, Po Ke Ma, Kate S.Y. Lau, Julia Byrne

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social-emotional deficits in school-aged children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) greatly hinder these children from fully participating in various school activities in the inclusive education setting. Previous studies have demonstrated evidence regarding the effectiveness of using virtual reality (VR) for enhancing the children’s affective expression and social reciprocity. However, considering the technical and logistical complexity of the enabling hardware and software systems, how such approaches can be effectively and sustainably delivered in the school setting remains underexplored. This paper presents a study that utilised VR headsets to enhance affective expression and social reciprocity for children with ASD and explored how the approach could be effectively and sustainably delivered at schools. A total of eight VR learning scenarios were designed based on Kolb’s experiential learning framework. 176 children aged 6–12 with a clinical diagnosis of ASD participated in the study. The statistical analyses showed that the participants who received the intervention significantly improved in affective expression and social reciprocity, compared to those who were in the control group. Moreover, the approaches to enhance long-term sustainability have also been presented and discussed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • affective expression
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • experiential learning
  • social reciprocity
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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