Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Smith, M. J., Ginger, E. J., Wright, K., Wright, M. A., Taylor, J. L., Humm, L. B., Olsen, D. E., Bell, M. D., Fleming, M. F. (2014). Virtual reality job interview training in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 44 2450–2463.
Title:  Virtual reality job interview training in adults with autism spectrum disorder
Authors:  Smith, M. J., Ginger, E. J., Wright, K., Wright, M. A., Taylor, J. L., Humm, L. B., Olsen, D. E., Bell, M. D., Fleming, M. F.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders
Publisher:  Springer
Full text:    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Historically, the community-based employment rate for individuals with ASD ranges from 25 to 50 %, suggesting a need for programs and services to assist with their transition to employment. A common gateway to obtaining competitive employment is the job interview, but this experience may be a significant barrier for individuals with ASD. Thus, improving job interview performance is a critical target for employment services and is especially important for individuals with ASD given their significant social deficits. Highly interactive virtual reality role-play training based on behavioral learning principles demonstrated greater effectiveness than conventional role playing for training other types of interactive skills. The training advantages of virtual reality simulations should be equally helpful for individuals with ASD as they can benefit from being able to progress at their own rate of learning and from repeating the exercises as often as necessary until they achieve mastery.
Purpose:  The purpose of the present study was to test the feasibility and efficacy of a highly interactive virtual reality role-play simulation, ‘‘virtual reality job interview training’’ (VR-JIT), to improve job interview skills that relate to job-relevant interview content and interviewee performance among individuals with ASD.
Setting:  Laboratory
Study sample:  Participants (ages 18–31) included 26 individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A non-specific diagnosis on the autism spectrum was required for participation in this pilot study and was determined with a T-score of 60 or higher using parent and self-report versions of the Social Responsiveness Scale, Second Edition.
Intervention:  This study evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of VR-JIT in a sample of adults with ASD. The feasibility of VR-JIT was evaluated via the number of training sessions that participants attended, the total time participants engaged in simulated interviews, and participant feedback on the intervention’s efficacy via a brief self-report measure. Adults with autism spectrum disorder were randomized to VR-JIT (n = 16) or treatment- as-usual (TAU) (n = 10) groups. VR-JIT consisted of simulated job interviews with a virtual character and didactic training.
Control or comparison condition:  The VR-JIT group was compared to participants randomized to a treatment-as-usual (TAU) control condition.
Data collection and analysis:  VR-JIT performance scores were examined as a process measure to determine whether there was improvement across trials. T tests and chi-square analyses were used to determine between-group differences related to demographics, vocational history, global neurocognition, social cognition, and ASD-related social deficits. Cohen’s d effect sizes were generated to characterize the within-subject differences between baseline and follow-up scores. The VR-JIT performance across trials was determined by computing linear regression slopes for each subject based on the regression of their performance scores on the log of trial number. In addition, a plot of the group-level performance average was created for each successive VR-JIT trial and reports the R2 from the regression of average performance on the log of trial number.
Findings:  VR-JIT participants had greater improvement during live standardized job interview role-play performances than TAU participants. VR-JIT simulation performance scores increased over time (R2 = 0.83).
Conclusions:  Results indicate preliminary support for the feasibility and efficacy of VR-JIT, which can be administered using computer software or via the internet.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Populations served:  Other
Interventions:  Training and technical assistance
Outcomes:  Other