Innovative use of virtual reality in autism spectrum: A case-study

Rosaria De Luca, Simona Leonardi, Simona Portaro, Maria Le Cause, Carmela De Domenico, Pia Valentina Colucci, Federica Pranio, Placido Bramanti, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are developmental disorders affecting communication and behavior. ASD incidence in the world population is about 1%, with a 4:1 ratio between males and females. In clinical practice, ASDs have been usually treated with cognitive-behavioral approaches, involving a face-to-face interaction with the therapist. Over the last years, virtual reality (VR) has played an important role in neurorehabilitation, even for ASD cognitive treatment. A 16-year-old boy with severe ASD and his caregiver were enrolled in the study. Two different cognitive trainings were administered; first, the boy was submitted to one-month cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); then, after one month of rest, a combined approach using VR (by means of the BTS-Nirvana System) and CBT was applied. Only the combined approach provided an improvement in attention processes and spatial cognition skills, with a significant reduction of ideomotor stereotypes. According to this experience, the use of VR in addition to CBT could be a useful and promising tool to improve cognitive function in individuals severely affected by ASD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Neuropsychology: Child
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • ASD
  • autism
  • cognitive rehabilitation
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • virtual reality environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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