Marina 6

Pathways to Independence Through Virtual Reality

Friday, November 3
10:45 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Marina 6

Target Audience: Professionals|Self-Advocates

AHRC New York City is passionate about the impact technology can have in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the past 2 years we have been embarked upon technology access projects that have supported 800 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to consumer technology for goal oriented pursuits.

Access to these devices has supported people into increase their independence in the community, in their homes, place of work and day programs. As we have moved through our projects we have captured best practices and innovative approaches and shared them throughout our agency and beyond. Over the past 12 months we have added a new project layer to our technology developments; virtual reality.

We have developed 5 virtual reality (VR) labs throughout our agency and use the labs to augment our individualized technology approaches. We have developed a virtual reality framework covering the following areas;

1. Environment Orientation – Familiarizing people with everyday environments, including environments that may be considered higher risk, such as subway stations.
2. Travel Training – Providing people with individualized immersive 360 simulation experiences of routes that are important to them. We capture a journey from someone's front door to their local grocery store, bank, subway station or pharmacy. This allows them to prepare for the journey without leaving the residence.
3. Employment – We are working with employers to create virtual reality resources that will allow people to use virtual reality to sample the workplace, this will allow them to either sample the work role and even be oriented to the environment before they arrive at the workplace. Further, we have developed interview preparation videos that will allow us to provide a “Fly on the wall” perspective to interview experiences.
4. Relaxation – We have been using virtual reality alongside individualized technology efforts to enhance individual's moments of calm. Using virtual reality people can choose to spend some time in an environment that may not be available to them in their local community.
5. Creativity - We have had great success with creativity applications that allow people to create their own 3D art. Once they have authored their 3D art world they are able to invite us in to their creation.

As we have developed this project we have developed VR resources that are specific to the needs of the person and the goals they are pursuing.

This presentation will cover, the benefit of virtual reality in the 5 areas above, the training that was developed to integrate the VR labs into service and both the staff and individual's response. We will share stories talk about how virtual reality has enabled people's artistic expression, self-motivation, independent travel and employment access. Finally, we will talk about how to share these innovative stories throughout the agency and develop a culture of innovation through person-centered technology approaches.

Learning Objectives:

Philip M. Proctor

Director, Individualized Technology Strategies
AHRC New York City
New York, New York

Phil is the Director for Individualized Technology Strategies at AHRC New York City; a 66 year old, family-governed organization that serves about 15,000 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in New York City's five boroughs. The agency is supported by over 4,000 dedicated and talented professionals offering residential, clinical, day, vocational, educational (schools), in-home, recreation, family support, and care coordination services.

Philip has worked in Education in the UK evaluating the impact of information and communication technologies on teaching practices. Since coming to the United States Philip has worked with AHRC New York City focusing on technology curriculum design and meaningful technology adoption by people with I/DD. Specifically, Philip has designed individualized pathways to effective technology usage targeting community inclusion and greater independence. Philip has worked with industry leaders to create technology identification and adoption assessment frameworks.


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Pathways to Independence Through Virtual Reality


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