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VR for Children with Special Needs

At a glance


While the immersion effect of VR technology is already being used for new experiences in business and culture, the widespread use of VR in the field of (school-based) special education is not yet widespread. With a focus on movement and communication, the project is developing new opportunities for children with disabilities.

The aim of "Virtual Reality for Children with Special Needs" is the exemplary and participatory testing, evaluation and individualization of virtual reality for participation in education, everyday life and mobility for adolescents with physical-motor or cognitive impairments at the Vivala Foundation in Weinfelden. The foundation looks after, supports and trains children and adults with disabilities. One of Vivala's aims is to give these people as much self-determination as possible. The educational principles of participation and empowerment support this goal. In this context, Vivala would like to test and scientifically evaluate the use of virtual reality. To this end, we have designed three use cases to address different impairments. These use cases are characterized by the fact that they convey action skills. These in turn support the goal of strengthening self-determination.

The "Virtual Reality for Children with Special Needs" project develops and tests virtual reality applications in accordance with the design thinking method tested with people with disabilities, has a pilot character and starts a permanent cooperation between the Virtual Reality and Participation Research departments.

The project thus fulfills the requirement formulated in Article 28 "Adequate standard of living and social protection" of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to "ensure access by persons with disabilities to affordable ... equipment and other assistance for needs related to their disability." (UN 2020, P. 6).