Use of Nirvana virtual reality in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorders represents one of the most common developmental disabilities. About 1% of the world population is affected by ASD, with a 4: 1 ratio between males and females.

The first symptoms appear between 12 and 14 months of age, characterized by problems of social interaction and communication. These symptoms result in psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and mood, in attentional and motor deficits.

An interesting study conducted by the IRCCS Centro Neurolesi Bonino Pulejo in Messina highlights how the use of Nirvana virtual reality combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), brings significant improvements in the patient with ASD.

The study was conducted on a 16 year old boy with level 3 ASD disorder, with delayed psychomotor development especially in communication, language and attentional skills.

The entire rehabilitation program consisted of 48 sessions: 24 CBT and 24 CBT plus VR. The training was performed three times a week, each session lasting 40 minutes. The latency time between the two different workouts was one month.

At the end of the rehabilitation treatment only the combined CBT and VR approach provided an improvement in attention processes and spatial cognitive skills, with a significant reduction in ideomotor stereotypes.

The encouraging results collected with this case report have prompted the Neurolesi team to go on with more research in this area, therefore data collection is underway on a larger sample of patients with ASD.

With the Nirvana immersive system, the patient is able to interact directly with the virtual environment. Thanks to multisensory stimulation, he lives an engaging experience and consequently is more motivated and enthusiastic in carrying out the therapy, achieving great results in less time.

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