Virtual Reality for Social Skills Training
Many people struggle with social skills for a variety of reasons. Anxieties, illnesses, lack of practice, and a need for more education can cause people social setbacks. For anyone with social anxiety, practicing social skills is a bit of a paradox: You need to practice to get better, but the anxiety can keep you from being able to do so in a face-to-face setting. Virtual reality is a great solution for people in this situation: It can help children and adults practice social skills in a setting that feels safer and more under their control until their confidence and skills have built up enough for them to be able to practice in real life.
Autism and Virtual Reality
Autism is a condition that commonly makes people feel socially anxious. They may have difficulty picking up on social cues and making eye contact with others. Some autistic people report feeling estranged and lonely, constantly anxious in public, or overwhelmed when they can’t communicate how they’re feeling. VR is helping people with autism learn to communicate more effectively and get comfortable in social situations. Autistic people are using VR programs to practice conversations, identify emotions, and learn about making friends and judging the quality of friendships. A lot of people who have used VR this way report feeling more comfortable in the virtual setting than they would practicing in real life. It seems that VR can be a very helpful platform for people with autism.
Popular Apps for Learning Social Skills
There are some great options out there for social skills VR apps. Some of them include:
- Kinful: Kinful is a social-emotional learning tool used in classrooms all over the country.
- InMind 2: Help John grow from a teenager into an adult as you play this adventure game that explores the chemistry behind emotions.
- VirtualSpeech: This tool is perfect for those who struggle with presenting and public speaking. Practice your speech in front of a VR audience and get feedback from the app.
- Floreo: Floreo is focused on teaching social and life skills to people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
- Ovation: This app can coach you through the process of speaking before an audience to help you feel more comfortable and deliver your speech more naturally.