Virtual reality: how can it help children with autism?

Technological resources are increasingly part of medicine. Teleconsultations, robot surgeries and virtual reality have helped doctors and patients in search of health and quality of life.

Among them, virtual reality drew attention in a new survey published in the journal Science Daily .

The study showed that the technology can help children and even adults with autism .

This is because, through the screens, patients can face different situations where they are generally afraid, phobic and have difficulty in personal relationships. Problems that people with autism live with daily.

The finding may still help children mainly develop control over phobias and limitations, as around 25% suffer from panic and fear of some situations.

Treatments for people with autism are, in general, quite difficult and include multidisciplinary techniques to accompany psychological, social and physical development.

Now, patients have yet another very technological option that has shown good results.

The blue room

The Blue Room , or Blue Room in English, was the mechanism created by scientists at Newcastle University to recreate, through virtual reality, the moment or situation that needs to be faced by the patient.

However, everything is done safely and controlled by a medical therapist, who monitors the entire session through the iPad.

The device works as a personalized environment and does not require glasses.

Through the screens, it is possible to simulate social situations such as buses and classrooms, as well as objects and animals, such as balloons and dogs, which are recreated so that the patient can adapt to this routine in a quiet and safe way.

Read more: Music improves communication for children with autism

How was the study done?

The study brought together 32 children with autism aged 8 to 14 years.

The first step was to divide 2 groups of 16 participants each. This was necessary for the specialists to be able to make a control and then compare the results between each one.

First, 16 children passed through the blue room for 4 sessions a week. As a result, it was seen that 4 out of 16 were able to control some phobia after two weeks.

After 6 months, the number rose to six children who showed improvement and, of the 16, only one had their fears and limitations worsened.

Meanwhile, in the other group that had not yet undergone therapy, 5 children worsened in the same 6-month period.

In general, about 40% of children treated showed reduction and control of phobias and fear within 2 weeks of therapy.

But the percentage may still increase over time, because in about 6 months, the number of improvements has risen to 45%.

The new treatment, in addition to being tested on children, also had sessions for adults with autism. Participants, aged 18 to 57, had 20 minutes in the blue room for therapy.

And, by the result, it was seen that the technique can also be efficient in older people, because in six months of treatment, 5 of the 8 participants reduced phobias.

Virtual reality for patients with autism is used to control some fears, phobias and improve relationships.

In addition, the discovery is a hope for family members of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), helping in the development of patients.