HERMITAGE, England (Reuters) - A specialist care facility in England is using virtual reality (VR) headsets and data mining to help children with autism to acclimatize to scenarios they are likely to encounter outside of school.
Staff at Prior’s Court, located in Berkshire, southern England, hope the high-tech approach helps students adapt to the real world and enjoy new experiences such as virtual skiing or deep-sea diving.
People living with autism may find unfamiliar situations to be stressful.
The VR scenarios introduce children to situations like visiting a grocery store or shopping mall or getting on an aircraft without leaving the safety of their classroom.
“Our young people, they have difficulties with sensory issues so they can find it overwhelming going to very busy places or transitioning to a new place,” Nuno Guerreiro, computing teacher at Prior’s Court School told Reuters.
“They like what is familiar, they like their routine. So the VR sets allow them to experience new realities and probably help them transition when they have to face a new place.”
Prior’s Court cares for around 95 young people at the severe end of the autism spectrum, including many who are non-verbal and are unable to communicate their needs.
The charity is hoping big data can help. A new data collection system, called Prior Insight, that will gather a detailed picture of each young person’s day, including what they’ve eaten, how much exercise they have had and how they are behaving.
“That information looks at things like incidents; seizure activity, food and drink input, toiletry input, personal care, any activities they’ve done, and any sleep data,” project leader Elaine Hudgell said.
“We’re hoping to not only increase our knowledge and awareness about the world of young people with autism at Prior’s Court, but we’re also hoping to be able to in time share that with the wider autism world,” Hudgell added.
After five years in practice, I decided that I needed to upgrade the look of my office to allow for optimal patient care. Upon researching some possibilities, I came across the Fun Factory Sensory Gym. I immediately called the company to purchase my own gym unit. We scheduled an install date and in three short days, my gym and my vision were complete. My patients and their parents walk in and are amazed at the beautiful and fun set up. I truly feel that my patients are getting the most effective and efficient care because I have the best equipment to address their individual needs. With the Fun Factory Gym equipment, I am able to help these children improve by Leaps and Bounds!
The Kaufman Children’s Center was proud to announce an exciting upgrade made here at the KCC. Over a long weekend in late January 2013, we completed a huge remodel to our sensory gym.
Our Fun Factory Sensory Gym has been life changing for our family! The entire experience of having the FFSG team in our home was so enjoyable. The crew’s heart and soul is behind the work they’re doing. From the first phone call, FFSG was committed to helping our family and our 3 small children with their various special needs. We have already experienced the calming effects of the net swing and the multiple ways the entire gym provides sensory input and regulation for our intense sensory seekers. What a great tool for our family and more than worth the investment!