The world we live in these days is full of virtual meetings and video chats. While there are definitely negatives to the absence of real world contact, there may be situations where it’s actually beneficial.
A recent study at Edith Cowan University in Australia suggests that VR therapy with realistic avatars may be more effective for some people than traditional in-person therapy.
Shane Rogers, PhD and lead author of the study, stated that fifty-two undergraduate psychology students from 18 to 53 years old rated their experiences communicating with an avatar driven by another person wearing motion capture technology.
They engaged in casual getting-to-know-you conversations and were interviewed about positive and negative experiences.
The researchers compared the avatar conversations to face-to-face conversations and found that about 30% of participants felt more comfortable disclosing negative experiences in virtual reality compared to face-to-face.
“This indicates that for a substantial proportion of people, this mode of communication might be quite useful for psychological therapy,” Rogers said. “We are currently doing more research to further investigate that.”
What do you think? Would it be easier for you to express yourself in a virtual environment?
We don’t know what we don’t know, and when it comes to different physical and mental abilities, there are new breakthroughs in research every day. Where can we go to hear about the latest and greatest news and research?
I want to introduce you to two resources that will you keep up to date on the latest educational research, less and regulations, and assistive technology breakthroughs.
GAATES gathers relevant news about accessibility from around the world. Everything from regulations aimed at providing access and opportunities to disabled people, to new technologies and research. If you’re interested in what’s happening in the world of accessibility, this is the place to go.
I hope this helps some of you on your journey of learning about the progress being made toward a more inclusive world.
Our family had the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon in person this summer. While pictures can never capture the majesty of that place, seeing it through Google Earth may be the next best thing. Visit Grand Canyon National Park
For families with a mixture of motor and communications abilities, the classic tradition of gathering around a table and playing games can be difficult. Here are some games that are fun for everyone and accessible across a wide range of abilities.
ThinkFun Roll & Play:
This game is designed to encourage creativity, active play and gross motor skills. Roll the large soft cube, and perform the activity that’s on the card with the matching color. A great opportunity to all be silly together! You can even create your own actions, just make your own cards!
Trouble: Dice games can be difficult for folks with limited fine motor skills. Trouble solves this by having the dice inside a dome that you push down. It pops us and rolls the dice for you! Also, no losing the dice! Hooray!
Rory’s Story Cubes:
These little cubes help introduce kids to storytelling without the hurdle of pen and paper. Roll the dice, and create a story around what comes up! Fun for adults also!
While this classic game is known and loved around the world, it can be hard to grab and manipulate those little blocks! Fortunately there are sets with larger blocks, which are much easier to get a hold of.
One of the hardest parts of writing is just getting started. Changing personal and specific internal, and sometimes abstract thoughts into something someone else can understand is extremely challenging. If our kids are struggling with writing, why not use their default method of communication to get things started? With Speech-To-Text, they can!
Most phones and computers will do Speech-To-Text now. On iPhone, the default Notes app will listen to your voice and convert it to text. Almost any app that allows text entry, on any mobile device, will offer an option to use the microphone to record your voice and convert it to text. If you’re on a desktop computer with a microphone, this website works pretty well, https://dictation.io/speech, and Google Docs has built-in speech-to-text capabilities under ‘Tools > Voice Typing’.
It’s important to remember that creating documents with dictation is a very different process than starting a document with writing. Allow the spoken dictation to be free flowing. Just start talking, don’t worry about punctuation, spelling or sentence structure. If you think better when you move, try taking a walk or doing some work around the house. If you think of something, record it right away rather than trying to hold onto it until you can write it down. Speak as if you are talking to a friend, or actually record yourself talking to a friend! That can really help keep the thoughts flowing. Let the words flow naturally, with all of your own personality, passion and expression!
Once that’s done, then worry about the editing. Spoken and written communication are very different experiences, so they require very different structures. Use the dictation as a guide. Edit out the ‘umms’, look out for times when you used the same sentence length or repeated yourself. Those typically aren’t a problem when in a conversation, but they are for someone reading. Vary your sentence lengths, remember how you FELT when you spoke the words, and find ways to show that feeling to your reader. Feel free to move sentences and paragraphs around so they tie together better. Conversations have a very different flow than reading, so the finished written product will have substantially changed from what was first recorded.
Remember, the goal isn’t to be a great writer, the goal is to learn how to get ideas on paper.