Can Virtual Reality Help Teens Deal With Social Anxiety, ADHD, And More?

Virtual Reality Kicking off the new series Brain Power, special anchor Maria Shriver visits a teen socialization lab at the University of Texas at Dallas, where a virtual reality...

Virtual Reality

Kicking off the new series Brain Power, special anchor Maria Shriver visits a teen socialization lab at the University of Texas at Dallas, where a virtual reality program helps teens develop their social skills despite such challenges as ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome. The teenage brain is a mysterious place. Parents want their teens to thrive and make friends, but many teens suffer from social anxiety.

There is new technology which is retraining their brains to become more socially confident. It looks like a video game but is really a virtual classroom teaching kids how to start conversations, and to overcome social anxiety, aggression, and bullying. There is a virtual reality program developed by a neuroscientist in Dallas, Texas located at the Center for Brain Health at University of Texas, Dallas.
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First the teen’s social skills are tested before they go into the lab. This virtual lab allows kids to practice simulated social interactions and to receive feedback from a counselor while “interacting” with another teen or adult on the computer. This allows them to try again if they don’t get it right the first time, whereas in real life, you don’t. The program is 10 half hour sessions over 5 weeks and costs $1800 per student.

The results have been positive, showing better social skills in the teens who participate. They are working to try and bring this to more kids nationwide.

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