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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 716890, 9 pages
Research Article

Using the Virtual Reality-Cognitive Rehabilitation Approach to Improve Contextual Processing in Children with Autism

1Office of Undergraduate Medical Education, Queen's University, 80 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6
2Virtual Reality and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, University of Toronto, 160-500 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1V7

Received 6 August 2013; Accepted 17 September 2013

Academic Editors: S. Duport and B. Unver

Copyright © 2013 Michelle Wang and Denise Reid. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. This pilot study investigated the efficacy of a novel virtual reality-cognitive rehabilitation (VR-CR) intervention to improve contextual processing of objects in children with autism. Previous research supports that children with autism show deficits in contextual processing, as well as deficits in its elementary components: abstraction and cognitive flexibility. Methods. Four children with autism participated in a multiple-baseline, single-subject study. The children were taught how to see objects in context by reinforcing attention to pivotal contextual information. Results. All children demonstrated statistically significant improvements in contextual processing and cognitive flexibility. Mixed results were found on the control test and changes in context-related behaviours. Conclusions. Larger-scale studies are warranted to determine the effectiveness and usability in comprehensive educational programs.