Development & Pilot Testing of a Pedestrian Skills Assessment w/Enhanced Virtual Reality Experience
This proposal is to provide the foundational research for the development of a pedestrian skills assessment that will evaluate and aid in the teaching of pedestrian and safe street crossing skills to persons on the autism spectrum. The project includes enhancing the project of a relatively inexpensive virtual reality (VR) program that provides a simulated street crossing experience. This research is valuable in that it will offer support mechanisms to the target population so they can learn how to travel safely and independently in their communities, contributing positively to their physical and behavioral health through evidence-based research. Documenting the necessary skills that address a variety of pedestrian environments and combining them with a VR experience allows for a larger segment of this population to travel independently within their own communities. The assessment tool will furnish individuals, caregivers, and educators with the skills necessary for mobility independence. The project will be designed to determine the current skills of an individual while establishing the requisite skills needed for a variety of pedestrian infrastructure environments covering urban, suburban and rural localities. The development of the proposed assessment with a VR component can increase mobility, which can, in turn, lead to increased access to employment, housing, and community life opportunities, thus increasing the quality of life for individuals on the spectrum.