Virtual reality and robots for autism: moving beyond the screen

Judith Good, Sarah Parsons, Nicola Yuill, Mark Brosnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)


Purpose: This short paper reports on the fourth seminar in a seven-seminar series entitled, “Innovative Technologies for Autism: Critical Reflections on Digital Bubbles”, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. The purpose of this paper is to consider in more depth the technologies being developed and used in the autism field, and to critically reflect on their relative benefits and potential pitfalls. Design/methodology/approach: Presentations from key researchers and practitioners are reviewed, highlighting contemporary issues in the area of autism and technology. The presentations include descriptions of cutting-edge technologies as well as the role of technology in human-human interaction. Findings: Despite its potential, technology for autism is regarded by many with some caution: technology per se cannot provide solutions to key issues in the field. However, by looking in more depth at the features of new technologies and the interactions that take place with and around them, we can begin to build up a picture of best practice around technology for autism. Originality/value: This paper offers up-to-date insights from leading academics on the benefits and challenges of innovative technologies in the field of autism research and practice. Specifically, it highlights the importance of including a breadth of expertise in the design of such tools, and the need to consider technology as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Assistive Technologies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2016


  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Autism
  • Innovative technologies
  • Interventions
  • Robots
  • Virtual environments


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