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Can Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder Use Virtual Reality Driving Simulation Training to Evaluate and Improve Driving Performance? An Exploratory Study

Written By Stephen M. George, Jr. MPA

Novice drivers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) differ from experienced drivers. The question of whether virtual reality driving simulation training (VRDST) improves ASD driving performance is a novel concept…. In a recent study published in the Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders, 51 novice ASD drivers (mean age 17.96 years, 78% male) were randomized to routine training (RT) or one of three types of VRDST (8–12 sessions). All participants followed DMV behind-the-wheel training guidelines for earning a driver’s license. Participants were assessed pre- and post-training for driving-specific executive function (EF) abilities and tactical driving skills. ASD drivers showed worse baseline EF and driving skills than experienced drivers. At postassessment, VRDST significantly improved driving and EF performance over RT. This study demonstrated the feasibility and potential efficacy of VRDST for novice ASD drivers.

For more information on this subject go to https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3164-7