6 ways virtual reality could transform the lives of disabled people

Wheelchair user with disability using Virtual Reality

Written by Claudia Cahalane, AbilityNet

While many companies are using virtual reality (VR) as a fun marketing accessory, the technology also has the potential to enhance and assist the lives of disabled people in recovery, adventure and more. It can also help organisations understand the experience of disabled customers further and boost inclusivity. Is there a way you could use virtual reality within your organisation? These examples could stimulate some creative thinking for you and your team.

1. Virtual reality could be used to help physically disabled people plan accessible routes around a new town or tube station, in advance of a trip. This could help increase safety and reduce anxiety. Developers of shopping centres, etc, can equally use VR to plan their spaces as inclusively as possible.

2. VR could play a part in helping the recovery of someone who’s had a stroke, sports injury or vestibular system issues by improving motor skills and aiding muscle recovery. It‘s been proven that when someone imagines doing an activity, the relevant parts of the brain needed to do that movement are stimulated. 

3. For those who are physically disabled, virtual reality (VR) means the potential to try out-of-reach experiences such as climbing a mountain, skateboarding or swimming in the sea, perhaps for the first time. 

4. There is the potential for people with particular vision impairments, such as Stargardt’s disease (a reduction in the central detailed vision) to see images more clearly using VR. This video shows how a woman was able to use Near Sighted VR Augmented Aid to see her grandchild more clearly, after eight years with limited vision.

 

5. People with Asperger’s might find it useful to use VR to practice social skills or have fun in non-threatening environment. https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/virtual-reality-training-improves-social-skills-and-brain-activity

6. VR is being used to give more people an idea of how a person with autism, epilepsy or a condition such as Alzheimer’s, might experience the world – by simulating a real experience in a virtual world. Perhaps this could help your staff understand different customers better?

 

See the full AbilityNet VR, Disability and Inclusive webinar here:


 

 

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