Autism is a mental disorder which has received attention in several unrelated studies using virtual reality. One of the first attempts was to diagnose children with special needs at Tokyo University using a sandbox playing technique. Although operating the computer controls proved to be too difficult for the individuals with autism in the Tokyo study, research at the University of Nottingham, UK, is successful in using VR as a learning aid for children with a variety of disorders including autism. Both centers used flat screen computer systems with virtual scenes.
Another study which concentrated on using VR as a learning aid with an immersive headset system is described in detail in this chapter. Perhaps because of the seriousness of the disorder and the lack of effective treatments, autism has received more study than attention deficit disorders, although both would appear to benefit from many of the same technology features.
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