A virtual world that could help adults with autism cope with social situations!
28-year-old Kyle Barton, who is on the autism spectrum, is part of a team that is designing the latest development in a virtual learning program at the University of Texas at Dallas in the United States.
The program is Charisma and its purpose is to helps adults on the autism spectrum improve their understanding of social cues and responses through real-time conversations in a virtual setting.
As someone with autism, Barton knows the kind of struggles adults with he disorder face in a world that can often ignore them. After he graduated, he spent two years looking for a job. He says he was often laughed at during interviews. Many potential employers even accused of faking the fact that he had autism.
Barton who now teaches adults with autism job skills such as coding and video game design, is trying to make the world better for others like him.
Charisma puts adults and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder in social situations that can trigger fear and anxiety. This could be ordering a drink from a stranger at a coffee shop counter. It also teaches them how to recognise social cues.
After using the program, participants have improved their ability to recognise emotions as well as understand other's intentions. They are also more open to initiating conversations.