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      Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training for Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism

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          Abstract

          Few evidence-based social interventions exist for young adults with high-functioning autism, many of whom encounter significant challenges during the transition into adulthood. The current study investigated the feasibility of an engaging Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training intervention focused on enhancing social skills, social cognition, and social functioning. Eight young adults diagnosed with high-functioning autism completed 10 sessions across 5 weeks. Significant increases on social cognitive measures of theory of mind and emotion recognition, as well as in real life social and occupational functioning were found post-training. These findings suggest that the virtual reality platform is a promising tool for improving social skills, cognition, and functioning in autism.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Systemizing empathy: teaching adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism to recognize complex emotions using interactive multimedia.

          This study evaluated Mind Reading, an interactive systematic guide to emotions, for its effectiveness in teaching adults with Asperger syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA) to recognize complex emotions in faces and voices. Experiment 1 tested a group of adults diagnosed with AS/HFA (n = 19) who used the software at home for 10-15 weeks. Participants were tested on recognition of faces and voices at three different levels of generalization. A matched control group of adults with AS/HFA (n = 22) were assessed without any intervention. In addition, a third group of general population controls (n = 24) was tested. Experiment 2 repeated the design of Experiment 1 with a group of adults with AS/HFA who used the software at home and met in a group with a tutor on a weekly basis. They were matched to a control group of adults with AS/HFA attending social skills training and to a general population control group (n = 13 for all three groups). In both experiments the intervention group improved significantly more than the control group on close, but not distant, generalization tasks. Verbal IQ had significant effects in Experiment 2. Using Mind Reading for a relatively short period of time allows users to learn to recognize a variety of complex emotions and mental states. However, additional methods are required to enhance generalization.
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            Virtual reality in psychotherapy: review.

             Giuseppe Riva (2005)
            Virtual reality (VR) has recently emerged as a potentially effective way to provide general and specialty health care services, and appears poised to enter mainstream psychotherapy delivery. Because VR could be part of the future of clinical psychology, it is critical to all psychotherapists that it be defined broadly. To ensure appropriate development of VR applications, clinicians must have a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges it will provide in professional practice. This review outlines the current state of clinical research relevant to the development of virtual environments for use in psychotherapy. In particular, the paper focuses its analysis on both actual applications of VR in clinical psychology and how different clinical perspectives can use this approach to improve the process of therapeutic change.
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              Transition From School to Adulthood for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorders

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +1-214-9053007 , +1-214-9053026 , drmkandalaft@gmail.com
                Journal
                J Autism Dev Disord
                J Autism Dev Disord
                Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
                Springer US (Boston )
                0162-3257
                1573-3432
                9 May 2012
                9 May 2012
                January 2013
                : 43
                : 1
                : 34-44
                Affiliations
                [ ]Center for BrainHealth®, University of Texas at Dallas, 2200 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75235 USA
                [ ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX USA
                Article
                1544
                10.1007/s10803-012-1544-6
                3536992
                22570145
                © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012
                Categories
                Original Paper
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

                Neurology

                adult, asperger, autism, intervention, treatment, virtual reality

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