Virtual reality technology.
Virtual reality technology. Salt Studios

Virtual reality providing life skills

A SUITE of new virtual reality learning tools are providing teenagers like Emilee Rogers adaptable and practical life skills.

The 16-year-old has lived with global developmental delay with autistic spectrum disorder and intellectual impairments from birth.

She also has chiari malformation - a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal - and recently had severe scoliosis corrective surgery.

Emilee has been using the virtual reality resources rolled out to the Cannonvale region by the Endeavour Foundation to gain a host of skills used in everyday life.

Lessons include road safety and how to use an ATM, while also adopting work skills such as operating a fork lift and barista work.

Emilee hopes to continue using this technology to foster strong practical workforce skills.

"The VR is a really great thing for lots of young adults with disabilities to learn things,” Emilee said.

"I'd like to learn about the human body and how it works and also how to make coffee like a professional.”

The Endeavour Foundation has been stationing its new resources at varies regions from Cairns to Melbourne, with residents from around the Whitsundays region able to benefit following Thursday's public launch of the resources.

Endeavour Foundation support and operations manager Miranda Kunze said the tools aimed to provide a safe environment for users to implement key life skills into real life practice.

"One of the concerns parents have with their child leaving school is they want them to continue to learn,” Ms Kunze said.

"People with disabilities tend to lose those skills faster than those without, so through accessing our new learning programs people with disabilities are able to continue to build on those skills they have learnt at school.

"Another primary concern from parents with the child ... is also what will happen to my child when I pass away.

"We're now offering pathways that will lead to genuine independence that will alleviate those concerns and provide some peace of mind for their loved ones future.”

Emilee's mum, Julie Rogers, said the technology was starting to show its benefits and would be a resource they would continue exploring.

"There is a difference between virtual skill set and a real skill set,” Ms Rogers said.

"(But) if it helps her build real skills, as long as she can make that transition that's the most important thing.”


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