Catherine Conway – Occupational Therapist, OTAssist
Virtual Reality (VR) has been an evolving technology for many years. When I began working in Enable Ireland in 1999, I remember my occupational therapy manager explaining that VR could become a very influential assistive technology. How forward thinking she was as VR is now immersed in mainstream technology and products such as Inclusive ClassVR http://www.inclusive.co.uk/inclusive-classvr are now available.
Virtual Reality (VR) offers a dynamic, immersive and controlled 3-D environment. One such VR platform that I would like to share with you is ‘Floreo’. Recently I was looking for intervention tools for children with autism who were not engaging with their teachers and I came across Floreo. Floreo is a VR platform that offers many applications. Primarily it is an intervention tool to support the development of social and communication skills. The aim is that children can practice behaviours in virtual reality and transfer them into the real world.
Floreo appear to be continuously adding to their virtual reality scenes and although some of them may be too Americanised for Ireland you can choose from 175 lessons -for example ‘Spatial Concepts’ is their most recent lesson.
A plus of this intervention tool is that the therapist / coach does not need to be in the same room or country as the child so considering the COVID-19 pandemic this is extremely useful. This is the link for their teletherapy video:
For a school to purchase Floreo, which would seem the most likely option the following technology is required:
- An iPad from at least 2016
- An iPhone that is at least an iPhone 7
- A mobile VR headset that is Google Cardboard compatible such as www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WHK2Z42/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- A WiFi connection and a subscription to Floreo
This document Floreo Learning Card Summary-incl Hidden Opportunities 4.22.20.pdf – Google Drive explains the lessons and the different opportunities for using each. The resources page www.floreotech.com/resources includes information like visual schedules, a pre/post-test and some best practices for using and introducing Floreo.