TNSRE presents

Design of an Interactive Virtual Reality System, InViRS, for Joint Attention Practice in Autistic Children

Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit atypical gaze behaviors related to joint attention, a fundamental social-communication skill. Specifically, children with ASD1 show differences in the skills of gaze sharing and gaze following. In this work we present a novel virtual reality (VR)-based system, called InViRS, in which children with ASD play games allowing them to practice gaze sharing and gaze following. InViRS has three main design contributions: (i) a closed-loop joint attention paradigm with real-time tracking of the participant’s eye gaze and game performance measures, (ii) an assistive feedback mechanism that provides guidance and hints in real time, and (iii) a controller that adaptively changes the avatar’s gaze prompts according to the performance measures. Results from a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of InViRS with 9 autistic1 children and 9 typically developing (TD) children offered preliminary support for the feasibility of successful gameplay as well as positive impacts on the targeted skills of gaze sharing and gaze following.

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