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The VIRTUS project's training programme using VR has entered its piloting phase!

Image from the VIRTUS project in Portugal. A young man is wearing a VR set, and a woman is tying one of the controllers to his wrist.

The VIRTUS project's innovative training programme that uses virtual reality to teach is now in its piloting phase.

Living with autism means having to navigate a world predominantly build for neurotypical people. The challenges autistic people face daily can vary, making it difficult for them to find quality and inclusive employment. 

The VIRTUS project, running from March 2022 to April 2023, is an Erasmus+ funded project that is developing an innovative training programme that implements the use of virtual reality (VR) – a tool recognised as useful for autistic people.  

The project has now entered its piloting phase. Between September and December, the different training modules using Virtual Reality are going to be piloted by “Ploes” E.Psy.Me. in Athens and Drapetsona in Greece and by ARCIL in Lousã, Portugal. 

So far, 17 participants with autism from Greece and Portugal have joined the piloting phase, which includes training sessions and modules related to interpersonal, pre-vocational, and professional skills.

The learning process is facilitated by both trainers and mental health professionals, using presentations, roleplaying activities, and interactive games as part of the teaching material. Ploes has been particularly working on adapting the training materials to autistic student needs by working on the accessibility of the visuals and texts.  

One of the modules is a barista vocational skills training, which will take place in a barista training facility in Athens. Here, the learning process will be facilitated by a barista trainer and a mental health professional. The VR scenarios will be used in different one-to-one sessions organised in Ploe’s VR lab in order for participants can consolidate what they have learned during their vocational training.  

In Portugal, the emphasis of the project lies more on the dynamic between participants and creating a safe and friendly environment. Prior to the first session, the participants were invited to ARCIL to experiment the use of the Virtual Reality tool with different games and playful activities. 

So, the piloting of this innovative programme is officially underway, and we wish the students the best of success! 

More about the VIRTUS project  

There is a gap in training and autism awareness for both employers and colleagues. The use of VR can help individuals with autism not only for the preparation of interviews, but help practice social/interpersonal, pre-vocational and vocational skills.  

The VIRTUS project partners have developed an Education and Training Programme which was accompanied by virtual reality scenarios. This helps autistic individuals to be able to practice and develop their professional skills in a safe and controlled environment.  

You can find out more about the project here!