Parents can teach their children with ASD pedestrian safety skills using virtual-reality and behaviour skills training

Thumbnail Image
Foidart, Daniel
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Teaching skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an effective way to promote independence and enhance quality of life. Persons with ASD may have less access to existing community programs and are at higher risk of injury. The acquisition of pedestrian safety skills assists in removing barriers associated with travel and can also help foster safety. Virtual Reality (VR) combined with evidence-based techniques such as Behaviour Skills Training (BST) offers unique advantages to expand an individual’s repertoire of abilities. This study evaluated the effectiveness of using VR combined with BST to teach pedestrian safety skills to individuals with ASD, facilitated by remotely trained parents. Two individuals with ASD were recruited and taught pedestrian safety skills using components of BST; instructions, rehearsal, and feedback. This was accomplished through the safety of simulated Virtual Environments (VE) where participants were taught specific street-safety discriminations by a designated parent according to a task analysis. An AB design was used for participant 1, and a multiple baseline design across settings was used for participant 2. Results across both participants and across settings for participant 2 showed an immediate improvement in the proportion of task components performed correctly during intervention compared to baseline. Data from participant 2 provides supporting evidence that a BST intervention is effective at teaching pedestrian safety skills to individuals with ASD in a VE.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Virtual Reality, Behaviour Skills Training, Pedestrian Safety