An Immersive Reality Space (IRS) is a hugely beneficial tool when it comes to enhancing learning and experiences for children with special educational needs such as autism, ADHD, speech, language and communication difficulties and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH).
At Immersive Reality, our mission is to provide enthralling shared immersive experiences that are easy to use and inclusive for all.
With a background in special needs provision, we truly understand the benefits of engaging and inclusive experiences.
Since 2018, we have developed a multimedia digital platform that facilitates digital environments and 360° degree video and images. Our in-house development team creates sector specific digital environments with true, free roam, user engagement.
Users can explore digital environments like never before – they can stroll through meadows, interact with animals in the Serengeti, and virtually visit almost anywhere in the world at the touch of a button! The possibilities are endless.
Part sensory room, part therapy suite and part digital classroom, our immersive spaces have many benefits, particularly for these with special educational needs, which we have listed below:
1. De-stress, de-escalation & re-regulation
Sensory environments can be highly absorbing, providing a moment of comfort and calm for overactive and distressed individuals. Similarly, the safe and controlled nature of an immersive environment can help withdrawn individuals feel comfortable enough to interact with their surroundings.
2. Sensory stimulation
For children who struggle to make sense of what is going on in their lives and struggle with speech, language and communication, the provision of an IRS means children are encouraged to engage with and explore the environment safely. This helps them develop their ability to understand, react and interact with the larger world around them.
3. Enhance learning through play
Immersive spaces are designed with learning and fun in mind. Sensory play helps children to develop their senses, encourages problem solving and can build nerve connections in the brain.
Sensory stimulation also engages different areas of the brain, helping children absorb and retain more information. Regular participation in this learning environment increases the child’s ability to ‘remember’ and develop preferences to enable choice making.
4. Improve balance, movement and spatial orientation
Many children who identify as having autism and other special educational needs can have an impaired ability to process information and what is going on around them, and can be easily overwhelmed. This includes their physical (vestibular and proprioceptive) skills.
An IRS can help develop visual processing abilities as well as fine and gross motor skills, facilitating day-to-day living. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with physical difficulties or Cerebral Palsy.
5. Develop communication skills
For some individuals, particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), both verbal and non-verbal communication is a challenge. We recognise how an IRS could help to engage withdrawn individuals. Sensory environments which employ audio stimulation and the ability to evoke sound can be especially helpful in encouraging vocalisations.
6. Improve focus
Some individuals find it difficult to focus, for example children with an ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) diagnosis.
Being in a safe and focused environment will support children’s concentration on the activity in hand and enhance focus. This is an important skill for children to develop so they can cope with real world environments where calm and concentration is key.
7. Promote socialisation
A great benefit of immersive spaces is that they can be used by individuals on their own, or in larger groups.
Using an IRS with others can help to promote socialisation skills in a safe, calm and stress-free environment. If you’re designing a sensory room in a school or care home, for example, it’s great to consider how you can cater to the needs of a group and encourage interaction between users.
Having group sessions within an immersive space can also help users understand cause-and-effect – for example how their decisions or movements may affect others.
8. Practice real life scenarios
Immersive spaces have the ability to help users practice for real life scenarios using simulated experiences.
These scenes are particularly beneficial for children with autism, who can struggle with change and unknown experiences. Immersive spaces allow them to prepare for real life situations, where they may be too anxious, or simply unable, to try in the real world.
Immersive spaces provide the perfect opportunity for pupils to familiarise themselves with situations in a safe and comfortable environment, before trying them ‘in the flesh’.
Our simulations help the development of many key life skills, including navigation skills, social skills, time keeping and decision making, amongst many others. Read more about how our simulations help SEN pupils here.
If you’d like to find out more about Immersive Reality, contact us on +001 (866) 782 6063 or email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!
You can also fill out our contact form here.