Toward a strengths-based model for designing virtual reality learning experiences for autistic users


This study presents a strengths-based framework for designing virtual reality experiences tailored to the needs and abilities of autistic individuals. Recognizing the potential of virtual reality to provide engaging and immersive learning environments, the framework aligns the strengths and preferences of autistic users with the affordances of virtual reality platforms. Drawing on the existing literature and empirical findings, the framework highlights key areas of alignment, including visual perception, anxiety management, attention to differences, concrete thinking, and response to positive feedback. The framework emphasizes the importance of involving autistic individuals in the co-design and co-creation of virtual reality technologies to ensure a more tailored and preferred user experience. By adopting a strengths-based approach and actively involving autistic individuals, the design and implementation of virtual reality interventions can better address their unique needs and foster positive outcomes. The study concludes by advocating for continued research and collaboration to advance the field of virtual reality technology for autistic individuals and to work toward shared goals with the autistic community.


Matthew Schmidt
University of Georgia

Nigel Newbutt
University of Florida 

Noah Glaser
University of Missouri