Many individuals with autism live with significant motor challenges that inhibit their ability to accurately express their ideas and emotions. These motor differences affect both the functional use of one’s body and often the ability to communicate. Imagine not having control over your own body, much less the world around you! Virtual Reality (VR) programs allow students to control their environment with slight movements of their heads, which can be incredibly empowering for people on the spectrum. Spending time in the virtual world where they feel competent reduces anxiety and builds confidence. At Celebrate the Children school (CTC), the staff uses their relationships with the students to create feelings of environmental and emotional comfort around using VR. Currently, we are using VR as a means of working on functional communication for some of our students.
VR programs like Floreo are a gift to individuals with autism and related differences. Exposing students to new experiences, challenges, and scenarios in a controlled and safe setting with the support of someone nearby helps provide the emotional foundations needed to maximize progress and, yes, navigate the real world.
It's been a pleasure working with Vijay and his team, and we were honored to host one of the early pilot programs at Celebrate the Children and contribute to articles such as this.
Floreo’s vision is a world that is open and accessible for every neurodiverse person. It is their mission is to create the first behavioral therapy metaverse, a virtual world that is safe for learners, equipping them with skills and tools they can apply in their everyday lives. Floreo has developed a VR platform that teaches social, behavioral, communication and life skills for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, Anxiety and other neurodiverse conditions.
To learn more about Floreo, please visit https://www.floreotech.com/.
Monica Osgood has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families for over 30 years. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Celebrate the Children (CTC) School in Denville, NJ. Monica is also the Executive Director and a Founding member of the Profectum Foundation and Limitless.