The MLO Minute, By Alexander Corbin, Esq.
A recent Article in Variety discussed how advancements in technology may open the door for a new way to address social skills deficits for our exceptional students. The Department of Education recently invested $2.5 million toward a program that will use virtual reality to help teach and develop social skills for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities often lag behind their nondisabled peers in developing social skills and understanding social cues. It is also a challenge to teach appropriate social interaction in a safe, controlled environment. Virtual reality may be an important supplement to traditional modalities to teaching the necessary skills that will improve a student’s interactions with peers and adults.
This technology offers the unique ability to simulate real world social situations in a way that allows for development in a more controlled setting. This would allow educators to target specific social skill deficits in a new, more direct fashion. While this technology is new and more testing needs to be done, and obviously traditional social skills training remains essential to development of interpersonal relationships, the potential for this technology is growing and it may only be a matter of time before families start to see virtual reality supports in their students’ schools.