Virtual reality for ASD

In References on June 24, 2009 at 2:39 am

Mineo, Ziegler, Gill, & Salkin (2009). Engagement with electronic screen media among students with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism Develop Disorders, 39, 172-187.


Main key words?

Engagement?  Interaction media? Independent design study?


Purpose: To examine the differential impact of a variety of video-based ESM on the engagement of students with autism.


Literature view:

The recent proliferation of technology applications designed to promote learning among individuals with ASD has been met with both optimism and concern.

Many have exploited the preference of ESM for instruction purposes, i.e., video modeling.

The benefits of self-modeling versus others modeling (Check Bellini’s study!)

Another genre of video applications for ASD: virtual reality.

(a)    avatar, (b) immersive type, and (c) immersive video.

The preference of people with ASD for ESM and strong engagement potential of immersive video suggest that immersive vided holds promise for delivery of instruction for those on autism.

Strengths of video-based instruction…



Independent study design: three groups were randomly assigned to three conditions with the same baseline (an animated video), Self video, other VR, and Self VR.

Gaze and vocalization were measured as dependent variables.   

Video clip selection criteria:

  • Moderate activity level
  • Did not include any rousing musical numbers
  • Focused on interaction among the human characters

Each participant viewed two screen-based segments, a baseline segment and a segment dictated by the condition to which they had been assigned (self-video, other VR, self VR).

Video tape recording for the participant’s target behaviors.

30% of data were checked for reliability: reliability for gaze was 86.1% and for vocalization was 94%.



Data were analyzed using analyses of covariance (ANVOCA).The baseline scores for the dependent variable under consideration served as covariate. In addition, child’s age and their expressive language level served as the second and third covariate.

Gaze scores: Self VR>other VR

Vocalization: Other VR >Self video



One type of ESM is necessarily better at engaging children than another. Rather different ESM types occasioned different patterns of responding across the key variables of gaze and vocalizations.


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