Evaluating a virtual reality sensory room for adults with disabilities

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Scientific Reports


Sensory processing difficulties can negatively impact wellbeing in adults with disabilities. A range of interventions to address sensory difficulties have been explored and virtual reality (VR) technology may offer a promising avenue for the provision of sensory interventions. In this study, preliminary evidence about the impact of Evenness, an immersive VR sensory room experience, for people with disabilities was investigated via a single intervention pre-post mixed methods design. Quantitative methodology included single intervention pre-post design (five month timeframe) with 31 adults with various developmental disabilities to determine the impact of use of aVR sensory room using a head mounted display (HMD) in relation to anxiety, depression, sensory processing, personal wellbeing and adaptive behaviour. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were also conducted with thirteen purposefully selected stakeholders following Evenness use. Results indicated significant improvements in anxiety, depression and sensory processing following Evenness use. Qualitative analysis corroborated the anxiety findings. No significant changes were observed in personal wellbeing or adaptive behaviour. Results are promising and indicate that a VR sensory room may have a positive impact on anxiety, depression and sensory processing for adults with disabilities. A longer study timeframe and a more rigorous experimental methodology is needed to confirm these findings.

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