Invirtua’s mission is to help those living with autism improve their conversational, social and motivational skills using interactive cartoon character computer technology. These Interactive avatars that help autistic children were demonstrated at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference in Denver, CO.
The Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer ™ – created by performance animation guru Gary Jesch – features live, animated 3D cartoon characters (avatars) that can model positive behaviors while reducing the autistic kids’ anxiety levels and motivating them to achieve more in often-boring therapy sessions.
When they begin to make progress, autistic children can quickly learn to use the simple controls and communicate their feelings through the avatars they choose on the computer. This form of autism treatment intersects with established interventions used by speech pathologists, autism therapists, autism treatment centers and parents of autistic children.
“I’m looking forward to demonstrating my Digital Puppeteer autism treatment technology in person to speech-language pathologists,” said Jesch. “It will be exciting to get their feedback on how they see it working with their clients.”
Experts in the speech-language pathology and autism arena agree that the Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer ™, a Windows10-based computer software and hardware combination, has great promise for treating autistic children who might also face other learning challenges.
Enid Webb M.A. CCC-SLP, a speech pathologist for the last 17 years, has been using the Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer ™ since October 2014. “This has been an incredible year of working with kids with autism,” said Webb. “They are very visual learners and their brains think in animation. It has truly been life-changing, in my practice. It’s a powerful reinforcer and a teaching instrument that complements my methods. Communicating through the avatar removes the authority figure and makes it easier to address certain issues as well as teach and practice very specific skills.”
Professor Ian C. Hale, Ph.D. FCIS, author (The Insider’s Guide to Autism and Asperger’s, et al), consultant and speaker stated, “Closely following the development and clinical testing of the Invirtua software package, it is, in my professional experience of 30 years, the best communicative aide available to the autistic community. The software allows autistic people to express and communicate their feelings in a unique and new environment. Invirtua provides an outstanding, economical and multi-versatile approach equally useful at home, for teachers and the psychological profession. I recommend it 100%.”
According to Dr. Tom Buggey, a researcher with 22 years of experience in modeling, an established intervention for autism, “One of the most effective ways to teach someone what to do is to show him or her how to do it. Invirtua’s program involves modeling through an avatar,” Buggey stated. “At present, there is little direct research on the topic; however, there is research on components of Invirtua that make me think it has the potential to become a powerful method for teaching children, especially those with autism, for whom we have so few effective methods.”
For its users and those affected by autism, Invirtua has formed a new community website where parents, therapists, experts, scientists and professionals can share ideas and information with each other. It’s called “Autism Animated,” and can be found at https://autismanimated.com